As the leader and innovator in online DVD rental since 1997, pretty much everyone in the U.S. knows about Netflix. They know that Netflix offers a huge selection of movies from every genre and can get them delivered to their door within a day at an affordable price. With over one million DVDs being mailed out daily, Netflix is the premier provider of online DVD rental in this country.
However, as Netflix continues to evolve and adapt to the wants and needs of consumers, it has taken on new roles within the entertainment industry as well. Red Envelope Entertainment, a recent expansion of Netflix, is taking the company into the realm of movie distribution and, in some cases, production of original movie content. By working to acquire and fund films that might otherwise be available only in small theatrical houses, Netflix can now actively increase the variety of films available to the broader movie viewing public. To date, Netflix has been the distributor of at least 100 indie and foreign films that might have otherwise gone unnoticed by the masses.
With Netflix in the role of movie distributor, there are benefits to the movie viewing public and for filmmakers as well. Not only will there be a wider variety of movies for viewers to select from but the quality of the offerings should also be enhanced as the movies Netflix chooses to either distribute or produce will be those which match up with the viewing interests of consumers. As Netflix customers view movies, they can go online and rate/review those that they have seen. The rate of participation in the movie review process is high as Netflix now has billions of reviews from which to pull their information on viewer preferences. The Netflix review system has consistently received high praise for it’s accuracy in pinpointing viewer preferences based on the data collected. By using this data to determine what movies to distribute, the end result will be greater availability of movies that viewers want to see versus those that simply have the backing of a major studio.
For filmmakers, Netflix can provide real opportunity for new talent or an outlet for the types of films that have an audience outside of that which is typically targeted by the major studios. Netflix is able to offer the visibility and mass distribution that can mean the difference between obscurity and success. The process can be as simple as submitting a film to the Netflix site for consideration.
It would appear that the Netflix foray into movie distribution should provide a richer selection of entertainment. In addition, this seems to signal that the evolution of Netflix is not complete and its influence in the entertainment industry will continue to grow.