Netflix emphasizes the business as usual, but the confusion remains – Analysis – Deadline

With less than expected subscriber growth and the next 150 releases, Netflix was all it wanted to talk about at this week’s Banff World Media Festival, and while the head of streamer pointed out Business As Usual, outside sources were confused. they reported. Messages from the Los Gatos headquarters.

A series of panels and talks, including one from the head of Global Television Bela Bajaria, Netflix intended to highlight the list of 1,500 delegates of curators, directors and journalists that the streamer is always doing: commissioning. the best producers, writers and directors to make the best shows.

Bajaria’s message was “back to basics”, denying the need for “radical change” within the streamer. More young employees were also pushing the BAU line in private, arguing that now is the time to cut noise and pay attention to what Netflix has always done.

But not many major sources in the production community were so sure that Netflix’s commissioned messengers reported mixed messages about budgets and the type of programming they were looking for.

Managers complained about the difficulties associated with business issues in establishing how much is offered in a contract deal for a particular show, a reversal of the time when Netflix was seen as a pure check company.

The Bajaria streamer set out plans to spend $ 17 million this year, but stumbled upon a question as to what direction it would take if growth continues to be lower than expected, saying it will eventually move “in parallel.”

“It feels like this moment is coming for a long time,” said one indie leader. “[Netflix] I felt like they could do what they wanted for a long time, and I think that caused a lot of problems. ”

While defending the state of Netflix’s “huge and dominant infrastructure” market, Kevin Beggs, president. Orange is New Black Lionsgate TV Group producer told Deadline that the player “should be more prudent and disciplined in the future.”

Meanwhile, facing stiff competition from Amazon Prime Video and Disney +, along with AVoD players like Roku who were also in Banff, Netflix is ​​taking the time to figure out how it wants to go in genres like drama. and unscripted, according to sources.

The turn of the last 150 releases (it is said that there will be more), broken by Deadline, some of whom were curators, only added to the confusion surrounding some of the projects.

The deadline indicated that a producer had taken a meeting with a board member about a project and received an e-mail a few hours later thanking him for saying that he had been released from that person’s office. Many development projects have been canceled, according to several.

When it comes to shopping, a senior salesperson said distributors are now more likely to sell shows to multiple local broadcasters around the world than to license Netflix worldwide; it was unthinkable six months ago.

“It’s clear that Netflix is ​​paying less and taking less global rights,” they added. “Netflix is ​​being careful with money and taking shorter windows, so if we can sell more money on local networks in France, Germany and Australia, we will do that.”

One director announced that Netflix could weather the storm by announcing the public return of Reed Hastings in the face of the mere division of Qwikster’s DVD rental a decade ago.

Canadian Battlefield

It seemed appropriate for Netflix to dominate the conversation at a Canadian festival, as the nation is the last place in the regulatory fight against streamer. Members of the Canadian government, producers and trade organizations are pushing for a bill through parliament called C11, which would ensure that players have to order a certain amount of local content and comply with government-mandated Canadian Content (known as CanCon) obligations.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez and Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission Chairman Ian Scott were in Banff to make a statement in favor of C11, and in private, Canadian industry figures spoke out against Netflix’s nationwide activity. One said that Canada is being treated as an “industry of production services” and added: “If they want to take advantage of our country, Canadians have to do shows about Canada.”

This may not have been in mind in 2019, when Netflix signed a controversial deal with the government that would not pay taxes until 2023 and would spend $ 500 million ($ 383 million) on English and French content. from the country. Also worth noting is Netflix’s largest Canadian series, Schittrena The streamIt was created by CBC and the streamer didn’t board the show until three seasons.

Pushing back

With a similar battle in Israel, as Deadline recently revealed, it’s no surprise to hear that Netflix is ​​backtracking.

Giving the latest evidence to the Heritage Committee, Stéphane Cardin, Director of Public Policy for Netflix Canada, who did the same work for the Canadian Media Fund, said the streamer has spent $ 3.5 million on Canadian films and series since 2017.

“We remain concerned about the rigid approach that will transpose the current regulatory requirements for Canadian broadcasters to online streaming services,” he said, noting that Netflix would not have the flexibility to fulfill its obligations such as news and sports. Titles produced or funded solely by Netflix would not yet be classified.

“This would not create the same equities, nor would it be fair or equitable,” he added.

Returning to Banff, the commissioners of Peter Frielander’s screenwriting series team told a committed people that they were traveling the length and breadth of the country’s producers, considering market rates, so as not to affect budget inflation in other markets, for example. United Kingdom.

The discussion reflects on the potential problems that Netflix may face as it delves deeper into the local territories in search of the next one. Squid game, Lupine or Money Laundering.

In general, sitting in the trees comfortably while sitting on a tree is definitely a struggle to regain its place.

“There are so many ways to consume content now,” reflected one major industry source. “What about Netflix in the long run? It’s hard to say. ‘

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