Netflix Hungry For Best Picture Oscar

Netflix may be releasing more viewing and consumer business numbers for its digital video service and possibly for any theatrical business. But it's probably not happy about it.

That said, realizing there is some business and consumer marketing value in citing big viewing numbers, Netflix has been slowly dipped its toes in these waters.

For example, about two months ago, Netflix posted this tweet: “Took off my blindfold this morning to discover that 45,037,125 Netflix accounts have already watched ‘Bird Box’." It didn’t go into specifics. But the move was well noted. 

Still, Netflix closely guards its digital video platform data -- even to big TV/movie studio content producers it does licensing deals with.

At the same time, Netflix seeks status as a quality TV and movie producer; one of its biggest goals is getting a Best Picture Oscar.  



It lost that dream for “Roma,” when the award went to Universal Pictures’ “Green Book” this past Sunday. ("Roma" won three significant Oscars: directing, foreign-language film and cinematography.)

Netflix is moving forward. A Martin Scorsese mob drama called “The Irishman” may be in the running, as an Netflix-produced movie, with possible Oscar nominations in 2020.

This won’t necessarily be under the “Roma” model -- where Netflix ran a short-term three-week theatrical release, moving quickly to its video platform. It originally wanted the same date release in theaters and its video platform. But it relented after pressure from some art-house movie theaters.

Here’s the bigger twist.

For “Roma,” Netflix put the kibosh on theaters releasing any box-office results -- keeping all consumer data close to the vest. This runs against most theater business practices. Theater owners release box-office data for virtually all movies playing in their theaters.

But for Scorsese, “The Irishman,” a high-quality mob drama from a name Hollywood director,  Netflix will need to reveal more. For one, Scorsese, according to The Hollywood Reporter, wants a wider theatrical release, which might impinge on its video platform business.

Not only does that mean a wider-release than with “Roma” -- say 1,000 or 2,000 screens -- but also allowing theater owners to release key box-office information.

That may be too much of a fine line for the streaming service. Box-office data, like TV viewing data,  shows -- however imperfect -- specific entertainment business ROI for many executives.

This is not ground Netflix easily treads.

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