In this age of digital streaming, the surplus of content has made filmmaking and production more competitive than it has ever been. This increasingly competitive industry has driven several of
these content providers to make rash decisions to accommodate their subscribers in any way they see fit. Netflix, one of the first services to break barriers for the medium, has recently been a subject of scrutiny for its many recent business decisions.
First, in late March of this year, Netflix announced that they would begin experimenting with a new feature in the countries of Peru, Costa Rica, and Chile, where they could allow the primary owner of a Netflix account to share their account with two other users outside of the primary household for an extra fee. This novel feature would successfully aid them in cracking down on password sharing, allowing them to make up that lost revenue from those that don’t pay for their own separate account. This news immediately caused a frenzy for most Netflix viewers, some even threatened that if this feature was followed through, they would cancel their subscription and no longer use the service.
In recent months, the streaming giant has lost a considerable amount of viewership and subscribers from these poor decisions. The service recently announced a different direction for its production company, hoping to make fewer films that are bigger and better than before. As subscriber count and stock value continue to go down, also due to other streaming services becoming popular, (such as Hulu, Disney+, HBOMax, etc.), Netflix is sticking to their more lucrative, original releases. Netflix’s Co-Executive Chief Officer and Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, defended this decision by stating, “Today, we’re releasing some of the most popular and most-watched movies in the world. Just over the last few months, things like “Don’t Look Up,” “Red Notice” and “The Adam Project,” are examples of that.” Netflix is not going to shy away from these big blockbusters any time soon, yet an insider for the company spoke on the fact that smaller films will be marketed and produced in a more niche way to accommodate their certain audiences, when they confirmed, “Small movies are not going to go away.”
Netflix has instead decided to no longer greenlit films they deem “vanity projects” by auteur directors. Many pointed this comment to be drawn at the recent biopic directed by famed director, Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman” (2019), a film with a budget of over $175 million. This specific scenario seems to be ironic, as Netflix is gearing more towards producing films that Scorsese famously criticized in October of 2019 in an interview with Empire Magazine, where he equated Marvel and franchise films to theme parks and consciously referred to them as “not cinema.” The future of the media giant may be indecipherable now, yet as these new, bigger, fewer, and better projects are released, audiences can decide whether or not a Netflix subscription is truly worth it.