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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:47 pm 
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Zot! wrote:
Y'know, it's a very Trumpian perspective on film preservation, this. I'm sure we're all aware that it's a free market business, but at the same time, shouldn't something that is an industry leader in presenting an art form have some obligation to also maintain it, against the worst impulses of an increasingly lazy, compromised consumer...in a perfect world? Even TV had public access, PUblic Television, etc.

Huh? Netflix doesn't have any obligation to do anything - should ABC be obligated to broadcast a Godard film once a month? Netflix isn't taxpayer funded like public television. What are you talking about?


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
There are public streaming options if that's what you mean.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:58 pm 
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The problem is basically that the streaming ecosystem of Netflix and Amazon supporting almost all studio libraries only made sense on an ongoing basis when the primary revenue stream for the studios remained their television networks; cord-cutting has unfortunately become rampant because people don't understand why cable bundling is actually a good thing, that supporting a handful of networks you don't watch is good because it means that so many more people are supporting the networks you do watch. But the a la carte model, as it reaches its breaking point (I believe the forecast, as said by the president of FX, is for this to happen early next year) will mean a bunch of networks and platforms will simultaneously fail as they individually do not maintain enough audience to be supported in such a system. But Netflix isn't innocent of all blame, whereas a lot of people in the millennial generation (in which I'm included) for some reason legitimately are willing to stand by Netflix as this great company that's a socialist paradise of where all content can live instead of understanding how it's leveraged that position in a bid to shut down a bunch of other networks. I've completely sworn off it at this point, and encourage people to cancel their subscriptions.

I still wonder a lot about that great moment last Summer when Netflix, seemingly apropos of nothing, made a big announcement they'd stream all of Albert Brooks' films for a few months. I can only assume it was a pilot that didn't bring in the numbers they wanted, but it tantalizing proposes a Netflix that *does* actually care.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:37 pm
Ribs wrote:
I still wonder a lot about that great moment last Summer when Netflix, seemingly apropos of nothing, made a big announcement they'd stream all of Albert Brooks' films for a few months. I can only assume it was a pilot that didn't bring in the numbers they wanted, but it tantalizing proposes a Netflix that *does* actually care.


They've been doing some similar things (maybe without as much social media fanfare), but most are timed around connections to new Netflix Originals that are going to premiere. They added The Chase, Barefoot in the Park, and the Electric Horseman to tie into the new Robert Redford/Jane Fonda movie that they're releasing at the end of the month. And they added a bunch of Noah Baumbach movies this month I'm sure to tie into The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) next month. A couple examples probably doesn't count for much, but I think it does give some insight into what library titles they're going out of their way to license (as opposed to most of the older than 10 years major studio titles that just seem to rotate between Netflix, Amazon, and various premium cable channels every couple months.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
I've seen that done elsewhere too. A lot of Lynch movies were starting to spring up (albeit a bit briefly) on Showtime in the lead-up to Twin Peaks.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:25 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:09 am
mfunk9786 wrote:
Zot! wrote:
Y'know, it's a very Trumpian perspective on film preservation, this. I'm sure we're all aware that it's a free market business, but at the same time, shouldn't something that is an industry leader in presenting an art form have some obligation to also maintain it, against the worst impulses of an increasingly lazy, compromised consumer...in a perfect world? Even TV had public access, PUblic Television, etc.

Huh? Netflix doesn't have any obligation to do anything - should ABC be obligated to broadcast a Godard film once a month? Netflix isn't taxpayer funded like public television. What are you talking about?

I get that Netflix is a for-profit business operating under the legal auspices of capitalism. My argument is much more naive. Like, is that really a good thing? Public streaming is good, but will not reach the audience that Netflix does. I'm just surprised that you would so happily not just tacitly accept but vocally endorse the further commoditization of media. I get that it's a hopeless hippie dream, but how is Netflix and ABC not showing Godard a net positive?


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:55 am 
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What bothers me with this article is how incomplete and partial in its info it looks.
Hulu isn't mentioned except for when its deal with Criterion ended but then, Filmstruck only gets 2 lines and no mention of its deal with Criterion. The Ultra-Violet system isn't mentioned either despite being central to studios digital copies system.

Is it thus really "the slow death of classic films" or is it just in the eye of the reviewer that conveniently forgets to talk about the whole amount of other ways these movies are currently visible.
Notably : since so many of these classic films (notably the exemples chosen by the article) are part of studios catalogue, it's particularly surprising the article would forget the main studio-agreed digital copy system (the UV). It also writes that "Netflix probably doesn’t think the audience for old films is big enough to make it worthwhile", but is it, or are the studios being rather being greedy ? The article doesn't say.

It will probably come a time where some writers need to realise that Netflix isn't the be-all-end-all they seem to think it is, but that instead, a whole part of movies aren't and won't be visible on it, but hey, how convenient ! you can see them here instead. It's just different markets and as always, different businesses, just the same way that some music artists are not on iTunes but only on Tidal.

In a few years, once Disney and Fox go away from Netflix, will we see articles like this deploring the lack of these movies on Netflix ? (this move being exactly what Ribs describes as a very-soon-to-fail model - and I still don't understand how these studios fail to learn the lesson they had plenty of occasions to learn : you can only split the market so many ways because consumers' wallet aren't infinetely extensible)


As for their addendum about intro-skipping / beginning credits-skipping, the AV Club had a piece on that which I think is much more interesting, basically concluding that if Netflix offers to skip beginning credits, it's probably because their data shows that many viewers are simply fast-forwarding through them in the first place (my dad always did and still does).
"It seemed indicative of a company that understands algorithms but not auteurs". But is the company not understanding auteurs or do their consumers don't ?


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:29 am 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
Tenia, I have to disagree. Netflix isn't the only company that does what it does, but they are surely the biggest and the number of subscribers to non-Netflix streaming services surely pales in comparison to Netflix. Is Netflix the only game in town? No. But they are the dominant player in the space. There are companies like Jet and Target that try to do what Amazon does, but Amazon's practices and behaviors still deserve intense scrutiny even if there are technically other companies doing the same thing.

Today, there are tons of classic films available in a high-quality physical media format and over a dozen labels that operate in the business. But eight thousand copies of Sinbad being released on blu-ray doesn't mean the film is as accessible as anything on Netflix, or making it available in Blockbuster stores.

If a film doesn't exist on Netflix, to many it doesn't exist at all. Just another example of the Filter Bubble at work.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:44 am 
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In a simpler way, my question is : is it Netflix' fault or its users if the other services aren't being used as much while being the ones offering the classic movies ?
I get your point about the Bubble effect (it certainly is true), but as for pinpointing whose to blame exactly, I again find it hard to solely point the finger at Netflix if its users are too lazy or not curious enough to go have a look if there is something else elsewhere, even if you can't force them anyway.

Hence my remark about the article's addendum about into/credits skipping : it's only offered by Netflix because people fast forward through them anyway, so Netflix' option just is the formalization of the users' behavior.

The end result is the same though, and I understand our point. But when I read "If a film doesn't exist on Netflix, to many it doesn't exist at all.", I'm really reading "People are just lazy and un-curious as f***". We could/should also wonder if all those people were interested before in classic films anyway (à la Venn diagrams and all). Otherwise, it's just a non-problem of people not watching classic films still not watching them. It was on DVD before, then on BD, now on Netflix, soon on UHD. So which viewers are we talking about here exactly ? There's so much visibility can do if nobody is interested about watching this or that movie.

The real danger would be if people willing to see them couldn't find these movies anymore, but that's not the case, nor it is what the article is interested in, isn't it ? I know my keyvip has never been bigger. It keeps growing to silly proportions, and it doesn't seem like it's going to end in the very near future, and god helped me I'm not reviewing Arrow's stuff on top of that anymore.


NB : I'm not disagreeing as such about how these companies should be scrutinized in how they're shaping what the public can easily access or not. I'm just concerned by the bias shown in the article which only look at the situation as if Netflix is actively deciding for the general audience and that their viewers were all brainless zombies who aren't bothered to look what is available elsewhere, to the point where the article doesn't even seem interested in mentioning those possibilities (which is a shame, since it would have been a good opportunity to educate readers).


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 9:37 am
It's a problem if and when Netflix's platform is used as a proxy to determine popularity/interest. How many people watch The Searchers on streaming? How many more would watch it if it was prominently featured on the Netflix front screen next to Master of None and Kimmy Schmidt?

Netflix, Amazon, and all the rest have the ability to influence how popular titles are by the nature and design of their platforms. On top of that, they obviously have an interest in pushing and promoting certain content (presumably original content and whatever they've paid the most on rights to!) It's a cycle: content isn't watched>not worth paying for licensing>assumption no audience for it>no commercial interest in restoring it or releasing it through other channels>etc.

It's not Netflix's fault people are lazy. But people aren't going to consume media based on searching for the exact thing they want to watch. Most Americans probably have either Netflix, Amazon Prime, or traditional cable, or some combination of the three. They'll watch "whatever's on." They aren't trying to complete a library or see every film by a director or seek out things they've never tried out.

Netflix spent years being lauded for their extensive library, and in growing their business, they destroyed the businesses of other companies that did similar things. Now they've gone back on a part of their original business model. Maybe smaller companies pop up to fill the void they've left, but they'll never match Netflix's reach or power.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:32 pm 
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Drucker wrote:
How many more would watch it if it was prominently featured on the Netflix front screen next to Master of None and Kimmy Schmidt?


That's actually my question. When DVD was booming, classic movies weren't a high market share, so why people think Netflix can change a line that might have never existed in the first place ?

So indeed : how many more would watch them indeed ? I'm wondering if they would be so many, and that's my underlying question about this article : what if these subscribers actually never cared about classic movies ?

It's a real question, not a jest from my part.

I just think that many Netflix subscribers never cared about classic films in the first place the same way that when tons of classic movies were available on DVD, people were still mainly watching Harry Potter and Fast & Furious. So even if you would add them on Netflix, they probably simply... wouldn't watch them.

In the past, at the peak of DVD, I don't think I'd be wrong to say that in France, catalogue movies were selling roughly 10 000 copies while blockbusters were selling at least 100 000, sometimes 1 000 000. That's at least a 10:1 ratio, maybe up to 100:1. Why should it be massively different with Netflix ?

I suppose another question could be : what's the ratio of Netflix subscribers over Filmstruck ones ?

Drucker wrote:
Most Americans probably have either Netflix, Amazon Prime, or traditional cable, or some combination of the three. They'll watch "whatever's on." They aren't trying to complete a library or see every film by a director or seek out things they've never tried out.


Which ties to what I wrote about : are classic films about Most Americans or have we actually always been talking about just a specific fraction of them ? See Criterion for instance. They're revered pretty much all over the world... but only amongst connoisseurs.
So again : overlapping populations or not ?

If they don't, the whole assumption falls down, because we're just talking about different businesses operating in parallel to different populations that are looking for different content.

There just was x consumers for classic movies and y who didn't care, and while the platforms changed, the figures (or at least the ratio between them) just never really changed.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:09 am 
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I know its still not 100% available to everyone just yet, and you are limited to a certain amount of films per month, but Kanopy really fills in some of the gaps that people are wanting / arguing about. Its free, can stream Godard films and available on multiple platforms for access! Sure, I can only watch five films per month, but thats not much less than what you'd be able to get with Netflix DVD with all of the turn around times (and unplayable scratched discs).

Sure, it isn't Netflix, but if people can't even bother to try a free service, how likely are they going to watch that one film their friend couldn't stop praising that they put in their watchlist and pass by everytime on their way to South Park? If someone is motivated enough to want to watch something, they'll find a way to see it. Netflix having a "classic section" seems like it exists just for us to complain about the lack of films on offer. Netflix having a suddenly better selection isn't going to bring a flood of people to go watch them, or do anything more than add to their watchlist.

The best case in point: I know someone who has a Star Trek insignia tattoo + a Star Trek wedding ring, and they've never seen an episode of the television series, but are "the biggest fan" of the JJ Abrams movies. They have Netflix and access to the entirety of the Star Trek shows, but only rewatch the latest movies. Try and unravel that one.

And I've found Netflix to have the least interesting streaming selection right now. Except for the original content Netflix creates, I'm not sure why anyone would choose it over Amazon (costs about the same + has mostly the same stuff but a far better selection +you get prime & a ton of other things). I also recently discovered Tubi (which is ad supported, but still has more interesting things than Netflix). Then you throw in Kanopy and Filmstruck and it seems like we're spoiled for choice. I wish I had this many options available to me ten years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Netflix
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:03 pm 
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But probably lots of people's libraries don't offer Kanopy... (ours doesn't).


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