Netflix to be more selective over big budget projects

A bite out of the Apple

by Andy Bassett Jul 2, 2019 at 1:08 PM

  • Movies & TV News


    Netflix to be more selective over big budget projects
    With recent reports stating how Apple TV Plus will be eschewing the Netflix model, news emerges that Netflix itself might be doing the same thing!
    News outlet, The Information has reported that Netflix film and TV executives met in June to be told by content chief, Ted Sarandos, that their big budget projects needed to exhibit greater cost effectiveness. In Netflix terms, this means that their big blockbuster films and shows need to demonstrate that they are bringing in new viewers and not just creating media attention and buzz.

    Obviously, no business can justify simply throwing resources away but it could be argued that in days gone by, when the streaming giant had little effective competition, it could afford to be a little less scrutinous of its spending in the knowledge that viewers would probably put up with the occasional clunker and wait for the next Netflix project to drop, given the lack of options elsewhere.

    However, that’s all changing with Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia all rolling out streaming services backed up by some pretty big guns in the content creation departments. Apple has Spielberg and Oprah, Warnermedia has J.J. Abrams and Disney has … well… everything else.

    Netflix has clearly decided that some degree of quality control and accountability needs to be factored in and this chimes presciently with comments made by Apple TV Plus’s Eddy Cue in a recent Sunday Times interview where he stated that the Netflix model was clearly not for Apple’s upcoming streaming service.

    One recent Netflix project singled out for criticism was Triple Frontier, which featured a serious A list cast including Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal. However, despite some reasonable notices, the $115m movie did not prove popular and was considered a major flop.

    Other lacklustre projects with reportedly significant budgets include The Get Down - a $120M hip hop musical drama which only lasted a single season, and Marco Polo which cost upwards if $200M.

    However, a desire to have greater accountability over project spending doesn’t necessarily mean that Netflix is overly worried by the upcoming competition. The veteran streaming service has demonstrated that its projects can be popular with both critics (Roma) and the viewers. The huge popularity of The Crown and Orange is the New Black, at up to $13M and $4M per episode respectively, shows that the company can spend money on extremely effective projects and has developed a canny understanding of what its audience expects.

    The overall budget of a reported $15 billion remains in place, so the greater the hold on the purse strings will hopefully mean the same number of projects are due, just that they’ll be of a consistently higher quality. Something Apple and Eddy Cue would no doubt applaud.

    The whole streaming party is about to get challenging for both providers and consumers alike. Are you a Netflix subscriber? What have you thought about their content up to now - decent or patchy? Does their newfound 'selective' approach feel like a move in the right direction? Let us know in the discussion thread.

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