Netflix recently made a move into the independent film category, where traditional movies in theatres typically face an uphill battle to be exhibited. Now, even small films can easily be seen on Netflix, which hosts a wide range of movies to choose from. From the traditional rom-com like ‘I love you man’ to the edgy cyberpunk themes like ‘Love, Death, and Robots’, Netflix has it all. Now in a world that is gradually becoming more digitalized day by day, the distribution companies are becoming less critical as online services such as Netflix can show the movies to a far more widespread viewership in a fraction of the time and costs. Since, the arrival of Netflix, fewer and fewer people have made the trip to the movies or bought DVDs. This is because Netflix has changed how consumers watch their films. Whereas, before you needed to clear out a day perhaps to visit your nearest cinema, or pay a cable bill, now all you need to do is pay a monthly subscription to get a wide variety of viewing materials at your fingertips. Simply turn on your devices, such as laptop, smart television, smartphone, etc, and log on to Netflix to enjoy the content available. In addition, without getting into the nitty-gritty aspects, an online streaming service is far cheaper than the price it takes to run a dozen or so cinemas with an unpredictable return, thus making it cheaper for both those running Netflix, as a consequence, the content creators can now be paid more. Now, we have already spoken of how it impacts the film industry negatively, but to recap, Netflix has cut down the need for distribution companies as it provides a single platform for millions of consumers to enjoy their products. In turn, the theatre industry is also in decline. However, there are several positive sides to the film industry giant. Firstly, as mentioned above, even lesser-known movies now have the chance to be viewed by a broad audience. This is because perhaps an individual would not consider buying a ticket for a movie he does not find appealing. However, with Netflix, you pay once monthly for the right to view any movie in their collection, and hence, should subscribers find nothing else to watch, perhaps said individual would/could turn to the lesser-known movie. In addition, whereas before shows such as “Sacred Games” were unheard of in the United States, now even the average American will be aware of the film through Netflix’s library or recommended column.
Now while this may seem interesting on paper, let me assure you that there was a very niche market for these types of movies, that is until the advent of Netflix. Now, anyone who even heard of the movie from a friend and simply wished to check it out only needs to have a Netflix subscription to watch the film, and even if someone doesn’t like it, there is no money lost as that person still can view other movies according to his/her choice available on the website. This applies to foreign viewers as well as the local ones. “Sacred Games” is a product of Bollywood centered on police officer Sartaj Singh. It is the story of how, after receiving an anonymous tip about the location of criminal overlord Ganesh Gaitonde, Singh embarks on a chase around Mumbai in what becomes a dangerous cat-and-mouse game. Amidst the chaos, trappings of a corrupt underworld are revealed. After being removed from the Gaitonde case, Singh begins his own investigation as he works to save Mumbai from impending doom.
Another great example of how Netflix is the perfect platform for non-blockbuster movies is the case of Roma. Roma is a 2018 drama film written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Set in 1970-1971, Roma, which is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuarón’s upbringing in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira and follows the life of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family. The film had its world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on 30 August 2018, where it won the Golden Lion. In addition, the film has received several recognitions, with ten nominations at the 91st Academy Awards, among them Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress. It also became the first Mexican entry to win Best Foreign Language Film, and also won for Best Cinematography and Best Director. Therefore, it is needless to say that this film would have done fine whether or not the rights to screen the movie where they are sold to Netflix. With a great plotline, director, cast, etc it seems almost a crime to have it available on something as commonplace as a streaming website. However, when one considers the monetary benefits of having one’s film shown on Netflix, the scenario changes somewhat. By making his film available on Netflix, Cuarón ensured that his film would reach a wide audience, practically the world, with little to no costs. And depending on the contract Cuarón forged with Netflix, he could either have been given tidy one-time payment, or perhaps he receives royalties every time the movie is viewed. Netflix has shown that through a more linear viewing platform, more movies can be viewed by more consumers at a marginal cost compared to the previous process involving a distribution company and theatres. In turn, unpopular and indie movies even from other countries can attract a far greater viewership as their content is available the world over. Lastly, the people making the films are benefitted seeing as more views means more money. Netflix has become a champion of sorts for lesser-known films, as well as a terrific platform for old and new films to be enjoyed, for all of these reasons and others that have gone unmentioned.
All the images have been collected from different sources available on the internet.