Netflix is about to have a competition in Apple’s new video and content streaming service. While Apple has invited the world’s most dominant streaming platform to go in bed with them, Netflix’s Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said no on Monday.
Netflix stood ground and said that it would not make its TV shows and movies available in other streaming service platforms, including Apple’s upcoming video offering.
“We prefer to let our customers watch our content on our service,” Hastings told reporters at the company’s offices in Hollywood. “We have chosen not to integrate with their service.”
Apple is expected to launch its own television and video service at an event of March 25th, a move that will tighten the competition for Netflix and other services that deliver entertainment programming and streaming services online.
Sources familiar with the matter have said that the service may resell subscriptions from CBS Corp, Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz among others, as well as Apple’s own original content. Walt Disney Co and AT&T Inc’s WarnerMedia also plan to offer subscription streaming services.
But Netflix is firm on its ground. Asked about the looming competition, Hastings said that the biggest challenge the streaming platform is facing is for it to “not get too distracted” by rivals but still “learn lessons” from them.
“These are amazing, large, well-funded companies with very significant efforts,” Hastings said. “They are going to do some great shows. I’m going to be envious. They’re going to come up with some great ideas. We’re going to want to borrow those.”
But, he added, “we will make this a better industry if we have great competitors.”
SHIFT IN FORMAT?
This is not the first time that Netflix is confronted with the possibility of shifting its program medium to others. For the last two years, Netflix has been bidding to be included in major awards and has successfully garnered four Oscars this year.
Netflix’s original movie ‘Roma,’ written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, bagged three Oscars trophies including Best Foreign Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Director. ‘Period. End Of Silence’ a Netflix original documentary also won Best Documentary Short.
The wins earned by Netflix in last night’s Academy Awards tied with Hollywood giants like Fox, Disney, and Universal Studios.
In order to qualify for these awards, however, Netflix had to jerk out of its platform and produce contents for the big screen – such as what they did for their Best Picture nominee, Roma. One of the requirements to get nominated for an Oscars is that movies should include a theatrical release, something that Netflix circumvented by releasing their bets on chosen cinemas and chose dates. The video streaming giant has spent more than $20 million in the Oscars campaign for ‘Roma’ alone.
The platform has even hinted on making a more significant theatrical release for their future movies. A teaser ad aired during the 91st Oscars for the gangster drama, The Irishman, said “in theaters next fall,” instead of the “in selected theaters” phrasing that was used for “Roma.”
The move of Netflix to dominate the Oscars faced a backlash from many big names in Hollywood. The problem, however, is that Netflix does not necessarily play with the same rules as other studios. Since most of the revenue that Netflix get from a movie is through streaming, the tech giant does not report theatrical grosses, a difference that irked some Hollywood giants including Steven Spielberg.
Netflix has poured in billions of dollars in original contents to leverage exclusivity and lure in new subscribers. In 2018, the company spent more than $12 billion on original material and was expected to make it to $15 million in 2019. According to The Wrap, the company spent approximately $20 million to $30 million on campaigning Roma for the Oscars.
Nonetheless, the success of Netflix’s content in this year’s Academy Awards is a sign that the streaming service giant is becoming a significant player in Hollywood. Last month, Netflix was the first streaming service to join the Motion Picture Association of America.
As the world offer Netflix with many possibilities for expansion such as Apple offering partnership and other theatrical releases, there is a considerable chance that the video and movie streaming giant’s growth will be unprecedented. But Netflix has a huge decision to make.