The online streaming service Netflix is set to launch 86 Netflix original films in 2018 according to media reports. That number is more than the combined number of films to be released by top four traditional studios and the previous record of Netflix of 61 films released last year.
This aggressive measure is being taken to counter allegations that the movie collection of the service had become stale. This issue can be used by Walt Disney Co to support its decision of not providing new films to the streaming service in 2019 to feed is U.S. customers. The intensifying competition in the streaming services has also raised the cost of purchasing films from other studios.
Netflix said that it is reaping the advantages of possessing more of its own films. Ober 80 million account holders have viewed the 33 Netflix films released this year for over 300 million times globally. That comes to an average viewership of 9 million viewers for every film.
The company is attempting to satisfy a varying range of tastes with the large number of movies, executives said. and the company was helped in choosing the movies by the data collected by it on the pattern of subscriber viewing habits.
The company is banking on foreign market demand to drive its future growth as more tha half od the 125 million customers of Netflix reside outside of its home country.
“It’s art and science,” said Ian Bricke, who oversees Netflix’s independent film licensing and production. “Our global audience is more and more diverse. We are constantly learning and trying to get smarter.”
While the company had announced that it had set itself a budget of $8 billion for programming for 2018, it did not disclose the amount that is had spent in on the film push. The programming includes original TV series and films as well as content licensed from others.
The company has announced that that negative free cash flow of up to $4 billion for 2018 would be a result of this heavy spending. The increasing number of Netflix subscribers have made the investors endorse the spending and the company has seen its share value rise by 70 per cent this year to touch $326.13.
Everything from low-budget family fare to higher-brow independent dramas are included in the Netflix film slate.
While two thirds of the viewership of Netflix is for television programs that include the company’s highly acclaimed original series “House of Cards” and “Stranger Things”, about one third of the viewership is for movies.
However, some senior film makers are opposed to the very idea of films being watched on the small screen even as there has been a mixed critic for the original films of Netflix.
“My entire life has been spent trying to give audiences something in a large, large forum,” Steven Spielberg told Reuters. “I love the whole feeling of social interaction outside. You leave your house, you park your car, you go somewhere. Those are the kinds of audiences I like to talk to.”
(Adapted from Reuters.com)