Netflix Executive Calls for the End of Movie Theaters?

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Netflix chief Content director, Ted Sarandos, launched a verbal attack on theater owners for limiting technological innovation.

During the Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, the Netflix executive called for owners to allow for big movies to open via Netflix on their scheduled release date.

Film Independent Forum - Day 1

“Theater owners stifle this kind of innovation at every turn,” he said. “The reason why we may enter this space and try to release some big movies ourselves this way, is because I’m concerned that as theater owners try to strangle innovation and distribution, not only are they going to kill theaters–they might kill movies.”

“Why not premiere movies on Netflix the same day they’re opening in theaters? And not little movies. There’s a lot of people and a lot of ways to do that. But why not big movies?”

“Why not follow with the consumer’s desire to watch things when they want, instead of spending tens of millions of dollars to advertise to people who may not live near a theater, and then make them wait for four or five months before they can even see it?” he added. “They’re probably going to forget.”

Sarandos was directing his attack towards theater owners’ resistance in previous years to any digital release that would negatively affect the theater owner’s sale.

For example, Universal planned on changing the traditional distribution strategy for the 2011 movie “Tower Heist” starring Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller, only to back down due to considerable pressure from movie theater owners.

Major Production studios are largely put down video on demand. However, it is becoming more and more popular for smaller independent films to release their film on Netflix and on movie theaters.

This comes after Monday’s third quarter earning’s call, where Sarandos, seeing the success of original series like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” said Netflix expects to double its original programming spending in 2014 and include original movies. Though he couldn’t quantify how much original series helped boost business, he said “it definitely helped.” Netflix currently has more than 31.1 million customers.

Source: Variety