Netflix believes you'll watch the same amount of movies regardless of the perceived quality of the library

By Nick Whigham

Disappointed by the lack of good movies in your Netflix library? It's supposedly your fault. Photo / Daniel Acker
Disappointed by the lack of good movies in your Netflix library? It's supposedly your fault. Photo / Daniel Acker

Netflix has addressed why its movie library is often deemed to be so mediocre, and the reason is because the company just doesn't think it matters.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in New York this week, the company's head of content Ted Sarandos explained why the streaming giant isn't that fussed about filling its platform full of top-notch flicks. Apparently, customers just don't care that much.

According to the Netflix exec, subscribers spend about the same time watching movies on the service regardless of the depth or perceived quality of the movie library.

"No matter what, we end up with about one-third of our watching being movies," he told the audience.

According to Business Insider, Mr Sarandos cited two contrasting examples of the United States and Canada as proof of such behaviour.

In Canada Netflix has five major deals with movie studios to use their content while in the US the company basically has none, with the exception of the recently signed Disney deal.

Despite US subscribers having far less access to movies from big studios, both countries spend roughly the same proportion of their time on the service watching movies.

Netflix believes that by the time many blockbuster movies make it onto the platform - many months after being released in the cinema - a majority of fans have already seen them.

"If you were passionate (about a movie), you've already seen it," he said.

While he added that Netflix is definitely "happy to have" those sorts of blockbuster movies, having all the big hits won't necessarily increase participation on the service.

Therefore it makes sense why Netflix isn't necessarily keen to spend big on movie deals, and why many of its movie catalogues have shrunk over the past two years with numerous top-rated films disappearing.

If you were passionate (about a movie), you've already seen it.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix head of content

Netflix has been credited with taking binge watching to the next level and much of that has been to do with its focus on original series.

The company has poured billions of dollars into original programming in recent years. In 2016 it pledged $US5 billion ($A6.49 billion) for producing original content and earmarked another $US6 billion ($A7.78 billion) for the same purpose in 2017.

A vast majority of that has gone into creating originals TV series such as House of Cards, The Crown, Barry, Narcos, The Get Down and Stranger Things.

During the New York conference, Sarandos also spoke of Netflix's intention to significantly boost its non-scripted offerings by releasing 20 unscripted series next year, referring to the genre as "a very interesting business."

He believes the company's strong suit when it comes to the genre is its ability to syndicate its shows worldwide.

"The content itself seems to be largely interchangeable. Meaning, if you want to see a show about hoarding, there are three different shows about hoarding," he said.

- news.com.au

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