Can Netflix change how movies are released and distributed? Ted Sarandos thinks so

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There’s a reason Netflix is in the headlines about every five minutes. Far more than just a simple website that allows users to stream TV shows and movies, Netflix has focused on becoming a global disruptor, upending the status quo, and changing the way we think about entertainment, and even online information. Now, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos says Netflix wants to change the way movies are released by accelerating the release time.

Giving the Media Mastermind keynote address at this week’s MIPCOM entertainment conference in Cannes, Sarandos explained the motivation behind Netflix’s strategy for getting into movie production and distribution.

“The idea of releasing a movie and then waiting six, eight, ten months before there was any home video exploitation and at least a year before you can get that at home, that’s not the model people choose. People are choosing Netflix; they don’t want to wait a year, or maybe ten years to get that movie,” Sarandos told the crowd, according to coverage from Advanced Television.

“The current distribution model for movies in the US particularly, but also round the world, is pretty antiquated relative to the on-demand generation that we are trying to serve.”

Calling out the current model, Sarandos pointed out that the release structure now in place has been around almost since movies began being aired on TV in the 70s. Obviously a lot has changed when it comes to how people get their entertainment in the current market, thanks to a little thing called the Internet, as well as more recent advances like Netflix, and more legally questionable models like torrenting sites.

Netflix wants to make movies more accessible out of theaters, and has made a concerted effort to direct its content creation and distribution models to make that happen. The company’s most recent moves include a plan to produce and release the anticipated sequel, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: The Legend, the same day it appears in IMAX theaters, which has theater owners in an uproar, as well as recently announcing an exclusive deal with Adam Sandler to produce his next 4 movies in-house.

“The Adam Sandler’s movies will go directly on Netflix,” Sarandos told the MIPCOM attendees, according to Variety. “We’re not going to open them in theaters anywhere and it’s a big deal because for the last 20 years, Adam Sandler has had a successful movie in theaters every summer. So this is a very innovative step for someone like him who’s a real movie star.”

And innovating movie production and distribution is just the tip of the iceberg for Netflix as it continues its quest for world domination. It is fitting Sarandos should give his speech in Cannes, given that Netflix just concluded a six-country invasion into Western Europe, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, the latter of which has been hit the hardest, with Netflix apps landing in set-top boxes from the largest French cable provider, Orange.

Adding those countries to other European strongholds like Britain, Norway and Sweden, and the Netherlands, as well as several South American countries, it is estimated that Netflix could top as many as 100 million international subscribers in the next 6 years alone.

“We’ve been very encouraged with the viewing hours per subscriber in France and Germany,” Sarandos remarked. “It’s on par with our successful launches around the world.”

With a firm grasp over American audiences, award winning, and critically acclaimed original TV series’, and an eye towards changing the entire movie distribution paradigm, Netflix isn’t exactly thinking small. And just as the company no doubt planned, we’ll all be watching with anticipation to see what Netflix will do next.

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