A recent article in Bloomberg says that Netflix is shifting it’s strategy from streaming Hollywood content to producing it’s own. Likewise, Hollywood is becoming reluctant to sell to Netflix. In the article’s words:
The media companies have been sending a message that they hope to sell fewer of their TV series to Netflix, which they now believe is bad for their business. Not coincidentally, Netflix has been sending its own message that it won’t plunk its money down to buy just any old junk programming. It has been a verbal sparring match over which side is less reliant on the other.
It’s clear what’s going on to anyone who has read Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier – studios and Netflix are competing to see whose service will own a monopoly on the market – what Lanier calls a “siren server” – the way that iTunes monopolizes music, and Amazon monopolizes books.
For the individual filmmaker, this is good and bad. While many marketplaces allow unknown creators to distribute in ways not possible before, others are notorious for underpaying artists.
Thankfully, distribution is as democratizing as much as filmmaking. Just as anyone can make a film, anyone can publish and sell it online.
The challenge is going to be connecting connecting with audiences (which has always been the challenge, really). You’re going to see more films get made because they serve a community, rather then studios trying to get communities to serve their films.
Data will play a huge role in this. Services like Netflix can target niche audiences in a way not possible before. For the individual filmmaker, it might be wise to differentiate yourself and own a niche, rather then trying to be all things to all people.
If you’re interested in the future of film…
- Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier
- Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation by Tyler Cowen
- Hope For Film: From the Frontline of the Independent Cinema Revolutions by Ted Hope