/// Netflix Flirts With a New Idea: “Big” Movies at Your House, the Same Day They’re in Theaters

October 28, 2013  |  All Things Digital


Netflix made a splash this year by creating its own TV shows and delivering them over the Web. Now it’s toying with the same idea for movies. This summer, the company announced that it in addition to TV shows like “Orange Is the New Black,” it would start spending money on modest movies — documentaries and stand-up comedy specials — which would debut on the service. Now Netflix is floating the idea that it will foot the bill for a “big” movie, which would appear in theaters and on Netflix at the same time. During the company’s earnings call last week, content boss Ted Sarandos said the company was interested in breaking into movies, and that investors should “keep [their] mind wide open to what those films would be and what they would look like.” This weekend, Sarandos got more explicit. In a speech hosted by Film Independent, the nonprofit behind the indie film Spirit Awards , Sarandos said Netflix could start delivering new movies to its subscribers by doing the same thing it has done with its original TV shows, and becoming a first-run distributor. “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 theaters? 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?” Good logic. And hard to imagine how that will work. But presumably that’s Sarandos’s point — Netflix wants to show that it can do it, at least once, and put pressure on the rest of Hollywood to change. And there’s some nice symbolism here, too: Netflix started out delivering movies via DVD, which it could do without Hollywood’s permission. It eventually moved into a digital TV show service, at least in part because it couldn’t get the studios to let it distribute their movies over the Web. Wouldn’t it be cool if Netflix could start to end run the system and deliver movies that way, too?

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Netflix Flirts With a New Idea: “Big” Movies at Your House, the Same Day They’re in Theaters


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