Is Netflix A Movie Studio, TV Production Company Or Digital Service?

Netflix is spending a whopping $20 million in marketing for its acclaimed theatrical release “Roma,” according to The New York Times and Fast Company- all to gain Oscar awards, including one for Best Picture.

Netflix received 10 Oscar nominations for the movie and 13 overall -- second only to Fox Searchlight’s 15. Is this a game changer for the competition?

Last year, Netflix won an Oscar award for “Icarus,” which addressed a Russian official’s involvement in the Russian sports doping scandal.

The question going forward: Is Netflix really a TV company looking to become a movie company? Or it is movie company really focused on the small TV screen?

Many would say it’s the latter.

Director Steven Spielberg says Netflix films are generally no better than TV movies and should only qualify for Emmys. Adding to this approach: Netflix wants to run movies on its SVOD in-home TV service on the same day and date films are released in movie theaters.



This includes efforts around “Roma.” It wanted to release the movie in theaters at the same time as its SVOD service. Theater owners resisted. But Netflix wanted an Oscar contender. So it gave “Roma” an initial, but limited theatrical run before moving it to its SVOD service.

Now, to make matters somewhat more complicated, Netflix has been accepted as a member of Motion Picture Association of America, the TV/movie lobbying group. It is a first for a streaming digital media company.

The six members of the MPAA are the major Hollywood studios: Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. They voted to let in Netflix.

Much of this is about status -- and promotion -- for Netflix. Initially, it has pushed hard for critically positive reviews for its original TV series, all to gain Emmy hardware. It hasn’t as yet secured the big Emmy prize -- the top award for best TV drama series.

But an Oscar seems closer. What would that mean for the digital video on-demand streaming service? More importantly, how will it affect its relationship with the theatrical entertainment ecosystem and consumers?

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