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Netflix Eyeing Shortened Movie Windows

21 Oct, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos speaking during the Oct. 21 Q3 video call

Service again says it has no interest in live sports, despite some Wall Street scuttlebutt suggesting Netflix would be wise to pursue rights to NFL Sunday Night Football.

Netflix, which heretofore has commissioned original episodic TV programing, said it plans to create original documentaries while keeping its options open on movie productions.

Speaking Oct. 21 during the rental service’s fiscal video webcast, CCO Ted Sarandos said plans include entering movie productions much the way it did episodic programming. Which means initial deals would likely be licensed (versus owned to minimize financial risk), with availability to subscribers moved up significantly from the current pay-TV window Netflix is subjected to.

“Really the driver of [making movies] is [similar] to breaking convention on television by offering all the episodes at once. Something the consumers have really loved. We would like to do more of that in the movie space, in that today, we’re held to the traditional pay television [distribution] model that doesn’t grant access until almost year after theatrical release,” Sarandos said.

The CCO said Netflix is considering offering original movies, or third-party feature films to subscribers in abbreviated release windows. While not offering specifics, genres or titles, Sarandos said Netflix movies would circumvent release windows — which while shortening — are not narrowing fast enough for the consumer accustomed to on-demand content.

“The more we can be aggressive around windowing, by taking more control over the content earlier in the process, that would be good for our members,” Sarandos said.

Meanwhile, the executive reiterated Netflix remains against pursuing live sports, wishing instead to improve the on-demand viewing experience.

“I don’t think that brings much to sports viewing, which is primarily a linear experience,” Sarandos said.

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