Netflix to buy movie theatres to boost Oscar nominations

Netflix logo Source: Wikimedia Ever since the 2015 release of “Beasts of No Nation”, the first Netflix original feature, the company has been trying to secure Oscar nominations. And according to a story in the Los Angeles Times, it appears as if Netflix could be thinking about buying up movie theatres in both New York and Los Angeles with a view to boosting its chances of landing an award. Entertainment industry observers believe the Netflix strategy seeks to create new and broader exposure for its feature and documentary material, which it hopes will then be able to attract much more attention in the run up to the Oscars. Though it has yet to capture widespread recognition for its in-house movies, the streaming giant already has four current Oscar nominations in the bag for “Mudbound”, the Dee Rees Southern epic. And though Netflix has successfully gained day-and-date releases for a few films, such as the action-adventure title “Okja” and “First They Killed My Father”, a thriller directed by Angelina Jolie, major theatre chains still refuse to present movies which are simultaneously released on the home-movie market. However, it looks as if Netflix see theatre ownership as a smart way to get around this difficulty.

Netflix in the market for cinema real estate?

Times sources suggest the Netflix team were planning a bid for Landmark Theaters, a high-end chain based in Los Angeles, currently co-owned by Mark Cuban. Landmark is known for its trendy, art-house style and has a reputation for showing first-run features and foreign films, which means it is well-placed to attract awards voters. Landmark’s property portfolio runs to 53 movie theatres overall, which includes three locations in Los Angeles, and more importantly, Landmark is presently understood to be discreetly looking for a buyer. Nevertheless, it appears Netflix are currently suggesting they have no immediate plans to purchase Landmark. Given their existing business model, Netflix films often find it tough to create any substantial awards buzz. The company is effectively excluded from the kind of vibrant, word-of-mouth theatrical buzz which so often boosts films produced by awards rivals Sony, Fox Searchlight, A24, and many others, simply because Netflix titles are only available for home streaming. Developing a chain of movie theatres under Netflix ownership, and thus keeping their awards titles on release for a much longer period, could be a very practical fix for this problem. Movie theatre Source: Pixabay

Ads test patience of film fans

Many see these rumoured Netflix acquisitions as an unwelcome development which may impact upon the current structure of the movie industry, and perhaps hasten the demise of many movie theatres. And here there is a parallel with the relationship between bricks-and-mortar casinos and playing online casino games at home. So the real question is: Will both land-based casinos and movie theatres survive this developing new era? And also making waves elsewhere, Netflix is currently experimenting with ads between episodes showcasing other titles in its video library – much to the annoyance of their audience. The aim seems to be to test whether these short trailers are sufficiently compelling to tempt subscribers into watching more Netflix shows.

Corporate Netflix still on the rise

Whatever the outcome of these plans, Netflix continues to do good business: Its net income for the year ended 30 June, 2018 totalled $0.990B. Furthermore, the net income for the quarter ending 30 June, 2018 was $0.384B – an increase of 485.9% over the comparable three-month period from last year!

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