Netflix. This is the name that became synonymous with online movie rentals and award-winning productions. Pretty much everyone you talk to these days has a Netflix account and loves all the amazing offerings they have on display.
Netflix was founded in 1997 as a video sales business but quickly turned to a rental only company. It pretty much grabbed the entire market in the US by the advent of the Blu-Ray, helping the demise of such conglomerates as Blockbuster. Ten years later they decided to enter the streaming business as well (lucky for them) and thus they managed to remain on the top, even when sales of VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray dropped off a cliff or stagnated. Today Netflix has over 100 million subscribers, of which half are in the US alone. But in the last couple of years, Netflix grabbed the attention of various companies and not as potential clients. Major movie studios (like the Hollywood Big Six), cinema chains and TV stations are starting to become nervous, as Netflix exerts more and more influence on the way people perceive movie consumption and the way distribution is handled.
Since 2011 they focused mostly on their streaming services and ever since then they noticed that creating exclusives shows and full-length movies only attract more viewers. The TV show model was shaken by the effect Netflix had on them. First, they decided to get rid of the 30 to 60 minutes formula altogether, as people can watch what they want when they want. Then they threw away the pilot episode driven approach as well. They simply decided that a well thought out series can do well on its own, there is no need to test the waters. This was a bold statement for content creators of the industry, as they were willing to invest millions into a full season, without first getting the numbers given by a pilot release. The fact that Netflix has no advertisement on its platform (people need to pay a monthly fee for the service) puts most TV stations in a bad light, whom historically relied on ad revenue to be able to create the content they need.
But this newly gained viewing freedom also had another effect on viewers, one that was not expected. Viewers quickly turned into binge watchers. They pretty much sit down these days and watch a full season from start to end. Obviously, this is only possible with a Netflix-styled model, as this is almost impossible via a classic TV approach, without a lot of hassle (DVR is luckily a thing of the past).
But what about the movie industry? Why are they affected? Well, Netflix started airing not only original shows, but movies as well. Beasts of No Nation (released in 2015) was regarded as an excellent movie and the way Netflix distributed it, was loathed by studios and cinema chains. You see Netflix has the tendency to have a limited release in cinemas and if possible to have a day and date release on Netflix as well. This is a model that does not work for anyone else except Netflix. To add insult to injury, they also started to become a serious contender for major awards, such as winning the best short documentary at the Academy Awards, for their hit The White Helmets.
All in all, it became obvious, that Netflix currently has an ever-growing influence on the movie and TV industry. The disruption that it causes is visible in every corner and it affects everyone from big movie studio CEO-s to small cinema chains. And considering just how bold and cash-enabled the company recently became, chances are that this will only continue for the time being.