Will Netflix Go the Way of FilmStruck?

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Will Netflix Go the Way of FilmStruck?

Will Netflix Go the Way of FilmStruck?

If there’s one thing that has become painful clear in the last couple of weeks, its that film streaming is a precarious business to be in these days.  When even FilmStruck, a beloved and widely-praised service bringing rare, old and foreign movies to more than a hundred thousand homes the world over, can’t make it, what can?  And, more importantly, what happens to those service’s movies once the service itself goes away.

Typically, there’s not too much question with that.  If Hulu goes under, people will still be able to easily find ways of watching shows like Bob’s Burgers and movies like The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).  If CrunchyRoll disappears, there’s still going to be a market for Dragon Ball Super.  If Disney cancels Disney Plus (their own upcoming service), you can safely bet that they’ll still sell you that copy of The Lion King (1994) you’ve been dying to add to your collection.

Will Netflix Go the Way of FilmStruck?

Things become a little more complicated when the issue of original, or at least exclusive content, comes up.  With FilmStruck closing its doors, it unclear how people will be able to rent, stream or buy many of their rare movies, like Yeelen (1987) and the entire filmography of Mikio Naruse, which quite simply aren’t legally available elsewhere in this country.  Or, for that matter, what happens to must-see originals like Daredevil, Bojack Horseman and Roma (2018) should something ever happen to Netflix.

The truth of the matter is that Netflix, despite its commanding market share, plethora of original and first-run content and loftier, big-screen ambitions, is in a bit of trouble: has been, actually, for some time.  When they started out, they were peerless innovators in the entertainment industry.  Now they are merely the first among equals: having to compete with everything from Hulu, Amazon, Crunchyroll, Disney Plus, Viacom’s upcoming new service and whatever Warner Bros replaces FilmStruck with.  Their solution to this has been to produce content that only they could — shows like Castlevania, Stranger Things and Jessica Jones — but that has pushed the company into potentially crippling debt.

Will Netflix Go the Way of FilmStruck?

Despite the money it’s been raking in hand over fist, Netflix has been operating at a deep loss for years.  Producing, rather than just distributing, content is extremely expensive, and the streaming service has been buying up as many unproduced pilots, promising talent and marketing gurus as they can to churn out and sell new movies and TV series month after month.  In 2019, Netflix is expected to spend an additional $20 billion dollars it doesn’t have in order to make new and exciting things for its subscribers to watch.

That’s right.  You heard me.  $20 billion dollars.  Billion.  With a “B.”

Will Netflix Go the Way of FilmStruck?

With their command over the market likely to shrink in the coming year by leaps and bounds and their costs only due to increase, this cannot be anything near a sustainable business model.  Netflix is a company, and as such needs to turn a profit in order to keep churning out great new content.  And them maybe going under (an all to-likely possibility with the way that things are going), all of that new content is being put into jeopardy.

Who will purchase what?  What shows and movies get lost along the way?  How can people still view them when so few of them were put on some kind of physical media?  Only time will tell, but Netflix better start turning a profit, and fast, so we never have to actually find out.

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