You might not be aware but the glory days of Netflix are about to come to an end.
Netflix was originally started as an online video store where customers, or at least those lucky enough to have fast enough internet at that time, could watch the latest releases for a small monthly membership fee.
This model helped Netflix become one of the most successful companies of the last 10 years. Millions of people flocked to its site to take advantage of being able to access all their favorite movies and TV shows in just one place.
Netflix had distribution agreements with all the major studios to show their films and TV shows to its users. It wasn’t long before a multitude of new video on demand platforms sprung up trying to get a slice of the pie.
21 years after it was first started, Netflix remains the king of the video on demand platforms. It has more members than ever and isn’t going to be going away anytime soon.
Dark Clouds Gathering
There was one problem, however. That, as usual, was money.
Netflix has become a victim of its own success. In the early part of this decade, the platform had grown so large that the owners reasoned that it was a better idea to create their own original content rather than to keep paying other studios for theirs.
This highly innovative and brave move saw Netflix become a studio in its own right. What followed was a string of success stories both in film and TV.
Starting with film, Netflix has produced some pretty good commercially successful movies. “Mudbound” (Dee Rees), “Okja” (Bong Joon-ho), “13th” (Ava DuVernay), “The Meyerowitz Stories” (Noah Baumbach), and “Strong Island” (Yance Ford) are just a few of the critically well-recived films that it has produced.
Arguably, Netflix has seen its biggest impact in the world of TV. BoJack Horseman, Mindhunter, American Vandal, House of Cards, Dear White People, and Lady Dynamite have all been huge successes.
Though, as yet, none of these series’ or films has scored the kind of returns Netflix has made from outside studio works like Star Wars and Family Guy, they have helped turn Netflix into a billion dollar company that is now a major player in TV and film production.
This success has come at a price.
The studios move out and move in on Netflix
When an upstart moves in on your already well-controlled industry, it is time for you to show your teeth.
This is exactly what the major film and TV studios that have been supplying Netflix with all your favorite content have done. The most notable of the early biters was Disney.
Disney recognized that Netflix was getting fat of its films. This caused the company to look for ways to limit Netflix’s rise, particularly as it now stands to eventually become a rival content producer and distributor that could one-day rival Disney in size.
So how could Disney blunt Netflix’s appeal while also taking more of the share of the pie for itself?
By launching its own video streaming service, Disney reasons that it will be able to pull its content from Netflix, thereby reducing the platforms mass appeal, while also getting more returns on its content.
By not having to give its movies to Netflix at a reduced rate, it can earn more dollar returns on content that it has worked so hard to produce.
It is amazing that it has taken the studios so long to see this gap in the market. Where one has gone, the remaining studios are sure to follow.
A bleak future of divided loyalties
Disney’s new platform will be launched in 2019, and though being cheaper than Netflix, will feature less content.
What does this mean for us film lovers?
Yes, you’ve guessed it. Much like Apple is increasingly locking down consumers to its accessories and products, the same is about to happen in film and TV.
If you want to stream Disney movies online, you will need to join their platform. In the future, the same will go for all the TV and film networks, meaning that our love for online content is about to get much more expensive.
There are currently 6 major film studios in Hollywood. Though this number is likely to decline as the studios look to join forces and boost returns to woo investors, right now we have the Big Six.
It is inevitable that within the next few years, all of these studios are going to look to protect their content. This will be the death blow to the original Netflix model. Netflix will then be forced to go it alone and survive off its own content. Whether or not this will happen, we will have to wait to see.
The frustrating thing will be its impact on us, the TV and movie fans that have to pay higher amounts for the pleasure.
Sofy.tv: The shining light for short film fans
The great news for fans of short film is that no such situation is going to happen anytime soon with shorts.
Our industry is still struggling to get back on its feet after years of neglect. Underfunding and lack of distribution almost killed the short film industry.
Now, thanks to the help of grants, recognition from international film festivals and platforms like Sofy.tv that help filmmakers monetize their films, the short film is making a comeback.
Our mission at Sofy.tv is to promote and reward short films and their makers. Whatever happens in the future, we intend to stay true to our goal of igniting a short film revolution where short films of all genres and budgets can be seen in just one place.
We will always ensure that our members can access the short films they want to see. Our goal is to one day, have the most comprehensive short film catalog on the planet.
While we do plan to become the Netflix of short film, we will always stay true to our goal of being the first and only place on the internet where short film lovers choose to watch their shorts.
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