Netflix wants big blockbusters on the day they open in movie theatres
28th Oct 2013 | 22:02
You say you want a revolution?
Netflix subscribers currently have to wait at least a year for the big movie releases to hit the instant streaming service ... and that's if they ever appear at all.
However, if bold and ambitions new plans voiced by chief content officer Ted Sarandos come to pass, the top blockbusters could conceivably be available to watch on Netflix on the same day they hit theatres.
As part of the company's planned venture into the movie business, it wants to ensure a measure of parity, continuing its mission to allow people to consume content in whatever manner and timeframe they see fit.
Speaking at a forum for independent film this weekend, he said: "What we're trying to do for TV, the model should extend pretty nicely to movies. Meaning, why not premiere movies on Netflix, the same day they're opening in theatres?
"And not little movies - there's a lot of ways, and lot of people to do that [already]. Why not big movies? Why not follow the consumers' desire to watch things when they want?"
Smashing the window?
It's not a completely foreign concept. Apple already offers pre-release movies through iTunes for some independent titles and charges around the price of a movie ticket for the privilege.
However, making simultaneous digital releases a possibility for franchises like Iron Man, Star Trek and The Hobbit and others would require unprecedented shift in perception in Hollywood, where carefully planned release windows are king.
Presently, the big releases enjoy a period of exclusivity in the cinemas, before hitting the pay TV channels and on-demand rental markets. Only then do they make their way to streaming services like Netflix.
We'd imagine the all-powerful cinema chains, which have already been hit by folks staying in to watch Netflix on a Saturday, might have something to say about this prospective new threat to their overpriced popcorn too.
In his keynote speech Sarandos called the release windows "antiquated" and accused the theatres of "stifling this kind of innovation at every turn"
However well meaning it seems difficult to imagine Sarandos' plans would ever come to fruition in this way, but with the company investing in its own original movie content, he may not have to worry about getting permission for very much longer. You can listen to the comments at about 22 minutes in during the video below.