There is no doubt that the streaming platform, Netflix is head shoulders above its peers, through its savvy acquisitions and exclusive deals with major movie stars (yes, Adam Sandler does fall into this category). I would be remiss to discount its competitors, all of whom who strive to carve their own niches around Netflix’s dominance of the streaming market.
There’s MUBI with a curate’s egg of auteur-powered content, Shudder for the horror contingent and Filmstruck for the Criterion art house-at-home crowd . Lest we forget Amazon Prime, whose sole purpose is to encourage users to buy into the Amazon ecosystem, rather than its film repertoire.
Netflix, however, holds the trump card.
Its birth as a DVD rental-by-mail service took a daring foray into producing original content as early as 2006 with its Red Envelope distribution arm, who struck deals with filmmakers such as John Waters, as something of a toe in the water. Since then, we are all familiar with its palette of Netflix Originals from House Of Cards all the way to re-branded ‘Original’ material of stand-up comedians and upcoming documentarians.
Recently, David Ehrlich of Indiewire brought into question Netflix’s manner of purchasing content and their subsequent lack of promotion, focussing of Adam Leon’s second feature film “Tramps” picked up at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. He went further with his line of enquiry and questioned whether Netflix’s long form content, solely debuting on their platform, could be considered as films at all. What defines a film? Does it require a big screen release? Bear in mind, TV movies have existed for years as the poor sibling of its big screen counterpart; could this be the next mutation of the genre?