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Opinion | Netflix Is Shrinking the World - The New York Times
Netflix, which has become the internet’s most invaluable and intoxicating portal to the parts of planet Earth that aren’t America......A win by “Roma” would be a fitting testament to Netflix’s ambitions. Virtually alone among tech and media companies, Netflix intends to ride a new kind of open-border digital cosmopolitanism to the bank.......Netflix, which has 139 million paying members around the world, has lately become something more than a licenser of other countries’ escapist television.

In 2016, the company expanded to 190 countries, and last year, for the first time, a majority of its subscribers and most of its revenue came from outside the United States. To serve this audience, Netflix now commissions and licenses hundreds of shows meant to echo life in every one of its markets and, in some cases, to blend languages and sensibilities across its markets......Netflix has discovered something startling: Despite a supposed surge in nationalism across the globe, many people like to watch movies and TV shows from other countries. ....Hollywood and Silicon Valley have long pursued expansion internationally. But Netflix's strategy is fundamentally different. Instead of trying to sell American ideas to a foreign audience, it’s aiming to sell international ideas to a global audience.....a crucial difference between Netflix and other tech giants: Netflix makes money from subscriptions, not advertising.....This simple difference flips all of its incentives. It means that Netflix has a reason to satisfy every new customer, not just the ones in the most prosperous markets. Each new title carries subtitles in 26 languages, and the company is creating high-quality, properly lip-synced audio dubbing in 10 languages. For years, Netflix has roiled the film and TV business in Hollywood with its billions. Now it’s taking its money — the company spent $12 billion on content in 2018 and is projected to spend $15 billion this year — to film and TV producers in France, Spain, Brazil, India, South Korea and the Middle East, among other places.

Because it is spending so much on shows from everywhere, Netflix has an incentive to get the biggest bang for its buck by pushing them widely across its user base. Its algorithms are tuned toward expanding your interests rather than narrowing them. As a result, many of Netflix’s shows are watched widely beyond their local markets......Netflix does seem to be pushing cultural boundaries and sparking new conversations all over the world....It’s legitimate to ask how long Netflix will be able to keep up this cross-border conversation — whether, as it keeps growing, it will have to make legal or moral compromises with local censors or other would-be cultural arbiters.

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Matt
Michigan2h ago
Farhad, I totally enjoyed your extrospection of Netflix as a global epoch-maker and change agent. This is globalization at its best. Netflix is outsourcing (crowdsourcing), outspending, and outwitting the Hollywood (s) of this world. Its recipe is simple yet profound: telling the stories of people, everywhere in this world, to themselves in their down-to-earth languages and customs. And technology has everything to do with it. Netflix would not have been where it is today if it was not for streaming technology. The assertion is true: technology is bring the world closer together.

By Farhad Manjoo
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 22, 2019
content_creators  cosmopolitan  cross-cultural  entertainment  Farhad_Manjoo  globalization  Hollywood  international_expansion  internationalization  international_diversity  Netflix  original_programming  streaming  user_bases 
february 2019 by jerryking
It’s Time for Apple to Go Hollywood - WSJ
By Steve Vassallo
June 20, 2017

Apple’s hires, however, appear to be another in a series of plodding steps. It’s been a wildly successful slough, but there’s a palpable sense that the company is losing momentum with its testudine gait—that it’s been taken over by bean counters and no longer has the nerve or verve to “think different.”

Apple could change that impression and supercharge its video play by doing something that would make the Whole Foods deal look like small potatoes: buy Netflix .

It would cost several times the Whole Foods deal to buy Netflix, but with almost $260 billion in cash reserves, Apple can afford it. (Full disclosure: my firm was an early investor in Netflix but no longer holds any shares in the company.)

Purchasing Netflix would give Apple three critical things it needs to succeed.

• Content creation. As Apple learned from “Planet of the Apps,” its failed reality TV series about iPhone app developers (really), producing original programming is difficult. With all due respect to Messrs. Erlicht and Van Amburg, simply adding a couple of studio execs probably won’t be enough. In acquiring Netflix—which has produced an endless string of award-winning hits, from “House of Cards” to “Stranger Things”—the iPhone company would gain instant credibility and proven expertise in creating premium content at scale.

• Vertical integration. Apple is the most successful walled garden in history. Taking video creation and distribution in-house would satisfy that longstanding business model.

• International expansion. Content providers now have to think and act globally.... Netflix is available in more than 190 countries. Buy it, and Apple owns the world’s first truly global TV network.

One more thing, to quote the man in the black turtleneck. In addition to content, another enormous asset Apple would get from buying Netflix is its CEO, Reed Hastings. Without a clear successor to Tim Cook on the horizon, it would be malpractice if Apple’s board didn’t have some names in mind.
Apple  Netflix  economies_of_scale  M&A  Hollywood  content_creators  vertical_integration  in-house  Reed_Hastings  international_expansion  think_differently  original_programming 
june 2017 by jerryking
For ‘House of Cards,’ Using Big Data to Guarantee Its Popularity - NYTimes.com
February 24, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID CARR

Rick Smolan wrote “The Human Face of Big Data.” “
Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.

Big bets are now being informed by Big Data, and no one knows more about audiences than Netflix....But there are contrarian opinions, "“Data can only tell you what people have liked before, not what they don’t know they are going to like in the future,” he said. “A good high-end programmer’s job is to find the white spaces in our collective psyche that aren’t filled by an existing television show,” adding, those choices were made “in a black box that data can never penetrate.” "...The rise of the quants has some worried about the impact on quality and diversity of programming. Writing in Salon, Andrew Leonard wonders “how a reliance on Big Data might funnel craftsmanship in particular directions. What happens when directors approach the editing room armed with the knowledge that a certain subset of subscribers are opposed to jump cuts or get off on gruesome torture scenes” or are just interested in sexual romps?

Netflix insists that actual creative decisions will remain in the hands of the creators. “We don’t get super-involved on the creative side,” Mr. Evers said. “We hire the right people and give the freedom and budget to do good work.” That means that when Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig are announced as special guests on coming episodes of “Arrested Development,” it is not because a statistical analysis told Netflix to do so.

But there are potential conflicts. Given that Netflix is in the business of recommending shows or movies, might its algorithms tilt in favor of the work it commissions as it goes deeper into original programming? It brings to mind how Google got crossed up when it began developing more products, and those began showing up in searches.

And there are concerns that the same thing that makes Netflix so valuable — it knows everything about us — could create problems if it is not careful with our data and our privacy.
David_Carr  Netflix  data_driven  massive_data_sets  streaming  data  television  digital_humanities  Asha_Isaacs  quantitative  big_bets  white_spaces  original_programming  human_psyche  craftsmanship  Venn_diagrams  content_creators  algorithms  biases  the_right_people 
february 2013 by jerryking

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