Netflix is repeatedly pumping out the best television programming of any network on the planet. Everything they produce is a hit: Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and the list keeps going on forever.
I probably watch at least 2 hours of Netflix every single day and I don’t want what I say next to be a characterization of how I feel towards Netflix on the whole, but they are god fucking awful when it comes to movie selection.
There was a time when Netflix has movies I actively wanted to watch but it’s gotten so shitty in the past two years that I don’t even bother looking at their movie selection anymore, I just go straight to HBO on-demand.
As it turns out, there’s a fairly logical reason behind why Netflix’s movie selection sucks gigantic donkey balls and my own viewing habits might be explained why it’s gotten so piss poor.
On Monday at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in New York, Sarandos was asked about the perceived sparseness of Netflix’s movie offerings. “No matter what, we end up with about 1/3 of our watching being movies,” he responded.
Sarandos cited two contrasting examples: the US and Canada. In Canada, Netflix has five major movie studio output deals, while in the US, it basically has none, with the exception of the just-starting Disney one. And yet in both places, Netflix sees about 1/3 of its viewing being movies.
If you take a film that that does well at the box office, and get it 7-10 months later on your streaming service, that’s not going to create a ton of value, he explained. “If you were passionate [about the movie], you’ve already seen it,” he said. Netflix is “happy to have” some of those movies, but the audience isn’t particularly passionate (hence the “1/3 no matter” what pattern).
No matter what they do only 1/3 of subscriber activity is watching movies. If TV accounted for two-thirds of my entire products (and that number is probably growing) I’d probably marginalize my focus on that 1/3 as well because it’s clear that TV’s what is working.
Even the Chief Content Officer of Netflix has a boss (several bosses actually), and if he were to ever focus on movies as much as TV he’d be skewered alive for prioritizing film as much as television when one of the products is getting double the engagement from viewers. He’s being a shrewd businessman and focusing on what works, and I dig that.
Follow Cass Anderson on Twitter: @casspa