North Texas Daily

Can Netflix originals compete with Hollywood movies?

Can Netflix originals compete with Hollywood movies?

Can Netflix originals compete with Hollywood movies?
October 24
17:08 2016

With Netflix Studios at the forefront of the video on demand market, it was unsurprising when the company scored a long-term lease with Sunset Bronson Studios in Los Angeles. Slated for completion later this year, Netflix will control about 200,000 square feet of office and production space.

According to Hudson Pacific Properties, the real estate company behind Netflix’s lease, the deal is the largest square-feet office pact to ever happen in Hollywood.

While Netflix is using the deal to produce more original programming – television shows, mini-series and feature-length movies – they’re also facing a lawsuit from 20th Century Fox. As said in an official statement, the studio believes “Netflix is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts.”

Basically, Netflix has (allegedly) offered workers money to cover their remaining obligations if they switch to them immediately. Although the morality of that tactic is debatable, it’s clear how Netflix plans to increase their original content at all literal costs, much to the probable dismay of its movie distributing competitors.

This calls into question if Netflix will stand toe-to-toe with other cinematic businesses in the future. I think they can, which means that studio heads need new strategies to continue selling theater tickets in lieu of simply watching movies at home.

It isn’t the first time this kind of competition has happened. In 1950, about 10.5 million homes in the United States had a TV set and in the following year, NBC became America’s first nationwide network. By the middle of the decade, nightly news was king, rock-and-roll reached its commercial peak and mainstream jazz helped forge the beatnik culture.

Because of this tremendous zeitgeist, movie studios combatted cheap, black-and-white TV shows with event films that boasted color, widescreen cinematography and the occasional 3D. This is the era that gave us legendary epics like “Ben-Hur,” “Spartacus” and “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” the former being the first of only three movies to ever win 11 Oscars. The unprecedented feat made epics a staple throughout the ‘60s.

Over 60 years later, television boasts color, widescreen cinematography and in Netflix’s case, the occasional 4K resolution. Nightly news adapted itself into 24-hour journalism cycles on the small screen and online, while Spotify and Apple Music make new music easily accessible.

Since so many of the tentpoles that flopped at the box office this summer had generally low critical reception, it’s clear studios are threatened by a generation paying more attention to quality in their media. Increasing the challenge is how well Netflix originals are doing. Once “House of Cards” premiered in 2013, it began a tradition of acclaimed shows and movies acting as incentives for monthly subscriptions.

It all culminated this summer after “Stranger Things” gained an instant fan following, contributing to a recent surge of 3.6 million subscribers. Not to mention how much other originals – including “Orange Is The New Black” and “Marvel’s Daredevil” – have contributed to the brand’s newfound confidence.

It’s not every day that film fans start a hashtag (#OscarsSoWhite) just so a movie on demand like “Beasts of No Nation” can receive Academy recognition.

We’re living in a zeitgeist of our own right now, one where more and more streaming companies are cashing their chips into the media market. If AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner doesn’t indicate this, then I’m not sure what else can.

Netflix has come a long way since the days of delivering DVDs, but now Hollywood needs to deliver more unique movies in return.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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