Back in the early 2000s, I received an interesting package while working as business editor for the Oakland Tribune and the Bay Area News Group. Inside was a DVD and a return envelope to a company I had never heard of: Netflix.
The introductory letter asked simply to “watch this and return it in the envelope and we will send you another” or something to that effect. Boy oh boy, do I wish I’d saved that historic PR pitch. I don’t remember the movie they sent, but I sent it back and signed up for this DVD-by-mail service that was becoming enabled by the internet. I never went into a video store again.
Netflix disrupted not just the at-home entertainment business, but today it’s challenging Hollywood like never before on many different levels: programming, streaming, executive poaching … name it and Netflix is fighting and beating the old guard. And there’s much backlash from that gray line.
The company has disrupted at such a high level, because of consumer preference, that it’s often painted as a problem, much as some do with Amazon, and many on Wall Street do with ETFs.
I recently came across this Netflix rant in TheVerge.com:
Christopher Nolan, director of high-concept blockbusters like the current “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” and “Interstellar,” and famous defender of the old-school institutions of film, went on a bit of an anti-Netflix rant during an interview with IndieWire today.
“Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films,” he told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn. “They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation.”
So Netflix doesn’t fit Nolan’s business model? Ah yes! I never go to a movie theater anymore; I would prefer to stream it, or watch it on HBO … in my house. It’s a beautiful thing. No crowded parking lots or ticket lines or people talking during the movie. Thanks to technology, that ship has sailed for me.