Take Bright, for example. By almost all critical accounts, it’s a bad movie. But while this might matter if it were released in a traditional movie theater, it turns out that this doesn’t actually matter on Netflix. Well, to be fair, it probably does matter at least somewhat, but it matters far less. Because at the end of the day, critical response is still subjective, even in aggregate. As such, it’s not all-encompassing. There will always be people who disagree with an assessment and will enjoy a movie that others did not — or, at the very least, will want to see it. Netflix just lowered the barrier to make this happen.
Going to a movie theater is a complicated and increasingly expensive process. If you hear a movie sucks, you’re probably not going to bother. (And that’s even more true if the theater itself sucks.) But if it’s playing at home, on a service you’re already paying for… […]
Seven years ago (!), I offered up the idea of Netflix using its unique model to “save” cancelled cult hits. Arrested Development happened. Twin Peaks happened (though on Showtime). Firefly? Not yet. But many others have. Including Full House. Which is somehow a hit again.
But it’s not actually “somehow”, it was inevitable.
Next, what if Netflix convinces top-tier content to think outside the format? The Avengers movies are great, but given the sheer number of characters now involved, they’re getting too elaborate and convoluted for the two-hour film format. What if instead, they were five, 90 minute-long episodes? Who wouldn’t want to watch that? Who wouldn’t pay to watch that? Who wouldn’t pay a small premium on top of what we already pay Netflix to watch such content? No one. And Netflix has to know that. (Certainly Disney does!) The data is already there in the form of box office receipts.
The point is, it’s a combination of great content (or even less-than-great content), mixed with Netflix’s willingness to experiment with new formats and methods of distribution that is truly changing Hollywood’s game.
I am waiting for some while now for more experimentation in formats on Netflix. Right now, Netflix still does TV (seasons) and cinema (movies) with scripted content. It won’t be long until they stumble upon genuine on-demand streaming formats. Especially the shared universe comic book route screams for a more free flow approach to time length of installments.