Studio Move Is Netflix's Latest Salvo In Content Wars

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Netflix and Amazon are the twin titans duking it out in the streaming wars. The two represent polar opposite ends of the intellectual spectrum when it comes to content creation, with Netflix following a model that hews somewhat closely to the studio system and Amazon turning to high-profile indie producers and directors to establish their brand.
The Ringer wrote an excellent breakdown of how Amazon is maintaining the modern model of finding lots of indie directors and buying their movies at festivals before releasing the movies theatrically and then on their streaming service. They more or less replicate the old model of theatrical distribution, at least relative to their direct competition.
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Netflix, by contrast, wants to bring its model more vertically integrated. They work with a set of producers and stars (Joe Swanberg, Adam Sandler, Chelsea Handler) that work more or less exclusively with the streaming service. There is no theatrical release, and the content never sees daylight outside the Netflix platform. That's a bit like the Old Hollywood model of production companies owning everything from stars to the screens on which they were shown.
Their latest move, according to Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos's interview with TheWrap, is to move a studio to Hollywood.
“I personally believe instead of investing in tax incentives that we should invest in infrastructure,” Sarandos told TheWrap.
He wanted to go against the modern practice of moving production to chase the best tax incentives.
“When you think about productions chasing tax credits all over the world, it puts the onus on the cast and crew who have to travel. You move to Los Angeles, or you grew up in L.A., because you wanted to be in show business — and then you have to move to New Orleans six or eight months a year,” Sarandos said. “I hope you save enough money to put a $100 million production at risk by having a lot of miserable people around.”
It's an interesting move, and one that only a really secure executive can make. He'll have a boatload of happy talent, none of whom know their ratings, and it doesn't matter how good the shows are as long as people keep signing up. Sounds like a nice gig to us.
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