Netflix cash all the boxes

For now, the news has made less noise than the success of Lupine and yet, it marks a new milestone for Netflix. “We believe that we are very close to achieving a free cash flow sustainably positive and that we no longer need external investments to finance our day-to-day operations ”, can we read in the annual letter to the shareholders of the platform, dated January 19. The share price of the American giant immediately jumped again.

Its cash flow ($ 8.2 billion) and a credit capacity of some $ 750 million allow it to approach 2021 in a new movement of massive conquest and production autonomy on a global scale, capitalizing today on more 200 million subscribers. With his line-up torrential 70 feature films, which should fall at the rate of one new title per week, we understand that the 20 billion dollars spent in 2020 on content investments should not only fill the shelves of the platform. They still need to expand its subscriber portfolio, improve its ability to keep them warm, as the competition, now bloated, intends to divert them from this service, which has long benefited from its tremendous lead in changing uses. Indeed, faced with the disaster of the lasting closure of theaters circuits, Disney or Warner measure their delay a little more each day, the crisis operating for them a change of model at forced march against a background of controversy and grumbling, as disgruntled filmmakers (such as Denis Villeneuve and his Dune in a carafe) than astonished operators.

Combat de titans

Netflix doesn’t have this problem and is ripping through the storm. The platform communicates more than ever on house successes, spreading numbers everywhere on The Crown, the game of the lady or recently Lupin, a success that Omar Sy echoed on Twitter: “70 million is crazy!” (in reference to an announcement showing the number of views of the French series after twenty-eight days of online presence). To judge the earthquake that dislocates the architecture of the podium steps, just remember that Pixar released at Christmas, on the Disney + platform, a kind of masterpiece (Soul) and that no one is able to say whether or not the film is a success! After its launch, Pete Docter’s animated film seemed to slip away, affecting only (dare I say it) the 87 million Disney + subscribers anyway. The old box office gauge looks pitiful here, like an old demonetized golden calf: Soul, theatrical release in a few territories capitalized $ 32,500,000 in profit (for comparison The other way around, from the same Pete Docter, released worldwide in theaters in 2015, it was $ 857,611,174 in revenue).

In this battle of the titans of mass entertainment, Netflix has established itself as master of the forges hitting iron in a blaze of his invention. Because the transparency of the platform’s audience measurements has always been questioning. In 2019, Ted Sarandos, director of global content (since last summer, promoted to co-CEO) assured that the box would make an effort on this point and rankings were released based on a 70% viewing of a feature film or an episode of a series. This criterion changed last year. You are now counted among the millions of views if you have watched at least two minutes of a series or a movie. The implementation of the “top 10” system pushes the most requested content and the algorithm tends to serve it to you at all times. We tested, for example, a research “Japanese cinema” or «David Fincher» and Lupin appeared each time in the list of tagged products. Also, the random launch, at the end of viewing, of any content whatsoever always exposes and again the carrier titles that you had not specially requested.

Read also“Lupine”: set, cast, screenplay … the recipes for success

The TV channels compared their strengths based on analyzes by the Nielsen Institute, allowing them to then negotiate advertising rates. Netflix has no ads, and breaks the barometers old school box office and TV audience measurements. Already in 2015, Ted Sarandos claimed that the house series Narcos had been seen worldwide more than Game of Thrones (broadcast on HBO) and this self-fulfilling prophecy bravado is … coming true.


Didier Peron

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