The LA Times is running a story about how the studios are using Amazon pre-orders and Netflix to forecast demand for movies:
Netflix' subscribers, however, are older than the theatrical audience. "Million Dollar Baby" and "The Aviator" were much bigger on DVD than in theaters, rented by adults who don't go to the theater anymore, Sarandos explains. And the Clint Eastwood drama "Mystic River" is the company's all-time top-renting film. Netflix adds a title to its database when a movie plays in a film festival or opens in a major city. A month or so before its release, subscribers can add it to their queue, asking for recommendations of others they might like based on their preferences and reactions to past rentals.
Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, also notes:
"With 3 million subscribers, we're interesting to the studios," he said. "With 5 million, we'd be meaningful, with more bottom-line impact. With 10 million, we could reshape distribution. If we put a spotlight on less mainstream films, maybe studios would be emboldened to release product that's more 'challenging,' shall we say. Our numbers could affect not only marketing plans but the kind of movies that get made."