The Future Is Not Set: Netflix’s Honcho Ted Sarandos To Discuss The Evolution Of Film Distribution

Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos is set to deliver the “keynote speech” of Cannes 2015 as he discusses the impact of video-of-demand distribution and its impact on future film production…

Ted Sarandos at Cannes 2015, Top 10 Films News

In what promises to be one of the most talked about, if not pivotal, moments of Cannes 2015, certainly in terms of the future of the film industry, Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix, will address an audience during the In Conversation sessions within NEXT, an exclusive programme for Marché participants, dedicated to the future of cinema. The on-stage interview with Sarandos will see him discuss new distribution models and how that will impact the financing and production of films.

As part of The Marché du Film, the market arm of the Festival de Cannes which runs this year between May 13 and May 22, Sarandos will take to the stage at 10am on Friday May 15 in what John Hopewell of Variety says will be the festival’s “keynote speech”.

It’s no secret that Netflix now plays an important role in how films are viewed across the world. With its global audience – the biggest subscription based video-on-demand service provider – the company intends to play a decisive role in developing the future film industry.

And it couldn’t come at a more significant time with the European Commission unveiling plans for a single digital market. This would seek to scrap geo-blocking, legislation that means online movies and TV shows legally purchased in one territory are not eligible for consumption in another. The move, opposed by Europe’s major film and TV distributors and the Motion Picture Association of America, could see Netflix benefit the most.

Sarandos has discussed Netflix’s plans for television quite extensively in recent months such as an aim to launch up to 20 original series per year that would appeal to “really diverse tastes around the world.” But he has held his cards closer to his chest regarding film. At Cannes 2015 he will be speaking exclusively about the movie industry.

One thing we know is that Netflix recently signed a major deal with Adam Sandler for the video-on-demand provider to produce four films starring the comic Hollywood actor alongside initial distribution rights. Sarandos has enjoyed a war of words with U.S. theatre owners over their refusal to contract release windows or enter into agreements to release new movies on a “day and date” basis.

The process of “day and date” sees a new release becoming available in theatres, DVD and VOD on the same day. Netflix has hatched a plan with The Weinstein Co. to day-and-date a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel with the release approach deemed one of the key ways to win back the war with pirate distributors.

U.S. theatre owners fighting the policy argue it undercuts the viability of a theatrical run but in an article in The Hollywood Reporter regarding the day and date release of Margin Call, the process was claimed to result in greater “buzz” providing a “boost in theatres”.

But few can argue how the impact of video-on-demand has impacted upon the entertainment industry, particularly television. Netflix’s plans for movies will hopefully have a similarly beneficial influence on all aspects of the financing, production and distribution of film.

Sarandos will be introduced on stage by Thierry Fremaux, the General Delegate of the Festival de Cannes, while the interview will be moderated by Laurent Cotillon, the Chief Editor of Le Film Français.

“We are delighted to welcome Ted Sarandos to Cannes. Netflix is a key player among the new wave of companies using innovative approaches and enhancing technology to create new models driving the industry forward. Ted is a huge addition to our line up and extraordinarily well positioned to address some of the key themes that we will be exploring at NEXT,” said Jerome Paillard the Executive Director of the Marché du Film.

Over 62 million members in over 50 countries enjoy more than 100 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, making the company a forerunner in revolutionising the way content is consumed and now produced. Netflix plans to expand into 200 countries within the next two years.

“We are delighted to be at Cannes at such a dynamic time and look forward to an open and entertaining discussion about our industry,” Ted Sarandos said.

Now in its second year, NEXT presents forward-thinking companies and initiatives, mapping out the future of the film industry across the globe. All 12,000 plus badge holders registered with the Marché du Film can sign up for the series and visit the exciting exhibitors located at NEXT.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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    Callum Reply

    Very interesting. The difference Netflix has made to TV show viewing is immense – how will it affect films I wonder. Is the allure of the big screen still enough?

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