Netflix Prepares for Film Cull
Film fans could be in for a shock over the next few days as it’s been announced that Netflix will be culling thousands of films on its American service following its decision not to renew its deal with distributor Epix.
Netflix, which has more than 60 million subscribers worldwide, said it wanted to focus on exclusive content in comparison to popular movies, which in turn has enabled rival US service Hulu to take on the Epix catalogue.
Hulu have since said: “Our subscribers have been asking us for more, and more recent, big movies. ”
“We listened. Through this new deal with Epix, we are proud to now be able to offer a huge selection of the biggest blockbusters and premium films.”
The response is fitting since Netflix’s deal with Epix included the Hunger Games and Transformers franchises. The reported $1bn agreement between the two companies will run up until the end of September 2015, at which point certain films will disappear from the service.
However, despite this apparent loss, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos has spoken out saying: “While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods.”
He then went on to list a variety of exclusive shows coming up on the service, including new work from Ricky Gervais, Idris Elba and Adam Sandler, while praising an upcoming Netflix-made documentary about Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
However, the question on everyone’s lips is how much of a gamble this is for the streaming giant, who have – until recently – had the edge over rival services.
Forrester analyst Jim Nail, in response to the news, stated that he believed the company was making a calculated gamble. He told the BBC: “Netflix is a very smart data company.”
“They didn’t make this decision without looking at how many people are viewing these titles.”
In this sense, the Netflix brand is positioning itself to be considered a luxury service with high-quality offers as opposed to an enormous library.
“They’re not trying to please everyone. They’re pleasing people who want premium content. That’s not all of America.”
Globally, Netflix faces similar battles, with it’s UK film library hindered thanks to existing deals between movie distributors and Sky, which has its own on-demand offering, Now TV.
However, it regardless of its move, the service both here and in the States is likely to face a backlash from consumers, though the popularity of its original content means it’s unlikely to affect subscriber statistics.