I can understand—to some degree—why Hollywood is trying to do everything it can to invalidate Netflix’s sudden gargantuan presence in entertainment, whether it’s leaning on theaters not to show Netflix films or trying to change the rules of who can win Oscars.
Netflix is one of those classic Internet disruption stories where traditional industries simply can’t compete. It has the reach. It has the dollars. And it will boldly use them. In those ways it’s similar to Napster in the early days of music disruption or Uber in the transportation realm.
But there’s a massive, massive difference. Actually, two. The first is Netflix only started to disrupt the creative industry after it had painstakingly built a strong, defensible, multi-billion dollar business. But the more salient difference is this: Netflix is a headache for those at the very top of the entertainment food chain because it is such an amazing option for those who used to be under their thumbs.
If drivers benefitted under Uber as compared to the old taxi system it would—in many ways—be a way less damaging company to people’s lives. As is, the drivers were picketing outside the Nasdaq when it went public. And Napster introduced the ability to steal music—which hurt everyone in the industry. Artists and studios are still split right now on how good or bad YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora are for them.
But Netflix is something different entirely. For one thing, it is giving creatives carte blanche to create work outside the regular confines of broadcast, which includes not having to write a set number of episodes per season or appeal to mainstream viewers. But it is also giving them massive international reach, far more money, and far more control over content in many cases.
But beyond what a great deal Netflix can be for creators, Netflix is also leading with integrity in areas where Hollywood is under pressure: Sexual harassment and inclusion. Netflix unceremoniously fired Kevin Spacey after allegations of assault came out, and made sure everyone knew that was why it was firing him. It fired one of its own executives for using the N-word, regardless of context. I wish consequences like that were the rule in tech or Hollywood. Contrast that to a report that came out this week that showed that half—613 of some 1,227—of those accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment in the #metoo era still have their jobs.
And it’s giving wide-reaching creative deals to the most exciting diverse talent.
I’m all for that kind of Hollywood disruption.
[Read more on Pando.com…]
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