Netflix threatens to pull films from Cannes in bid for recognition
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Netflix threatens to pull films from Cannes in bid for recognition

Streaming video on demand (SVOD) market leader Netflix is in no hurry to get theatrical releases for its movies. CEO Reed Hastings once said that traditional film distributors’ greatest innovation in the last 30 years was that “the popcorn tastes better”. But this decision may rule it out from some of the industry’s biggest and most prestigious awards.

Netflix share price has increased by more than 100% in the last 12 months

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Netflix is slated to show five of its films at Cannes this year, but it may now refuse to show any, thanks to a ruling from last year that films without French theatrical releases are ineligible for prizes. Cannes is still happy to show these films, but they won’t be entered into competition. This is a big loss to SVOD services, which are trying to close the gap in respectability with the traditional movie industry.

At present, services like Netflix risk being seen as the modern version of “straight to DVD”. That means consumers are less likely to take their original movie content seriously, and it means top talent will be less excited about the prospect of working with them. Of course, we’re witnessing a sea change in media – no one can ignore SVOD services now – but ruling them out of events like Cannes, which acts as a quality gatekeeper – is nonetheless not good news.

The Palme D’Or is widely seen as second in prestige only to the Best Picture Oscar. Knowing that your film cannot be considered for it is not what top directors are looking to hear. With the official program for Cannes being released on April 12, we will soon find out whether Netflix is going to play nice or nasty in the credibility game.


Dominion holds Netflix in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.



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