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Serra

I actually like the streaming of Indie films on Netflix. It adds a great amount of content that I might not see otherwise.

However, with less steaming rights, comes more need to ship me the DVDs for the Indies that I can't stream, so that will not help me want to get rid of the DVD side. I think that is counter productive to their goal of getting rid of my DVD package.

This is typical of Netflix lately, try to go one direction and do 1000 things to make it not work as expected.

David

I think they must have decided to give up on moving people away from DVDs.

Every decision they make lately has continued to solidify why the DVD portion of their offering is important.

James

Uh, can't think of the last indie film I intentionally watched. Maybe I watched one and didn't know it? Name me the famous one.

CB

I'm not sure what qualifies as "indie".

mark c.

CB is right....indie films is a broad term....with that said..I love streaming indie films and see a portion of foreign films as indie. The selection now is really good. I guess we have to wait for more information.

Fred Talmadge

I'm always looking for something different as I'm tired of the same old mainstream movies. In any case since I can't stream I'm still on the DVD plan and this decision will not bother me.

rjm

Not a deal killer either way.

T Averill

Indies are about all I stream -- what else is there?

J. Malone

Netflix needs to find their center. Leave indies alone.

medievil

it's all about economics.. if only a handful of people stream Indie's then it makes no sense to keep buying expensive streaming rights

Truck

Indie means it was produced outside of the major film studios (Fox, Warner, Paramount, Universal, Columbia, Disney).

michaelant

Ugh. Next we'll hear Netflix is going to start censoring films like Blockbuster so that they meet an R rating instead of NC17; gotta appeal to the majority. Not really, but getting rid of indie films in streaming would be really dumbing down the service. I just hope the DVD service sticks around for a good long time, because that's the only way I can see a lot of films. Can't rely on Redbox to carry anything out of the mainstream.

Nialla

I like to watch some indie films for variety. I can only watch so many mainstream films before I need a change. Though for me, it's a moot point, because I can't stream, so I get the DVDs.

I'm wondering if perhaps Netflix is going to make streaming more of a "casual" service for those times where you just can't find anything else to watch, while DVD service will be geared towards more "specialty" titles. Streaming titles come and go, but hopefully DVD titles will stay relatively constant.

Rigel

As long as I can still get those indies on DVD, and as long as NetFlix maintains their DVD business, not a problem.

MIke

Instead of creating a new market like they did in the past, Netflix is now just trying to get a portion of HBO's market segment by duplicating what HBO has already done. This is exactly what Blockbuster attempted to do to Netflix, and look what happened to Blockbuster.

I would not care if indie films were not available on streaming, provided they were available on DVD, but Netflix has cut back on Indie DVD purchase as well.

Fortunately there are sites such as Musi and Fandor which still offer Indie streaming movies.

CJ

Very important - Indie Films that is. I seek out good, off-beat Indie films to watch either streaming or on DVD

Nic Peterson 9

Its important to me as well, if I cant get the off beat films that I never heard of than Netflix can pound sand. This move does not surprise me tho, every move they have made over the last 2 years has been terrible, why stop now?

glebe

Are we sure this is true? There are still a surprising number of times where Netflix is streaming an indie or foreign title before it's on DVD. Off the top of my head some examples this year are Weekend and Myth of the American Sleepover.

ncmacasl

From what I understand, they are more likely to order any title (especially indies) if people put titles in their "saved" queue.

Steve

Their business plan is clear.

And it probably makes sense if you are seeking mass audience: dump quirky, low volume niches and go for the "hangover," "Porky's" TV RE-run gold. Their audience should be thrilled.

Now, though, Netflix simply couldnt be less relevant to me! The death knell was when Netflix dumped Criterion.


It's as if the NY Public Library decided to focus on modern fiction and sold off everyone who came before Dickens.

Walt D in LV

Indie films are incredibly important to me. It is almost entirely what I watch.

That being said, I do not watch streaming, and I suspect, if Netflix were to concentrate on streaming only big name titles, they would therefore attract the largest number of people, as most people, it seems, are only interested in the big name titles (percentage-wise, very few of the average American public seeks out movies that are different and therefore rely solely on the big tentpole blockbusters they see advertised on their TV).

What I love, and have always loved, about Netflix is its DVD/Blu-ray selection. It is second to no one. They get most every DVD that comes out and many Blu-rays. Sometimes there is a delay, but eventually they do get most everything.
Redbox, by comparison, concentrates on the bigger name titles, though they are getting better, and they do get the Blu-rays of the titles they carry. My local Blockbuster gets many titles, often even indie films, though in the last couple of months have been getting fewer and fewer titles on Blu-ray.

Finally, Netflix just recently had a big announcement in which they trumpeted the fact they'd be getting The Artist as well as
several documentaries. I feel quite confident in stating that The Artist and those documentaries all qualify as indie films. So, perhaps Roger Ebert was a little hasty in his statement (tweet).

Galagatron

I don't really pay attention to whether a movie is "indie" or not--often times that term is used as a trendy buzzword, like "organic"--but a great deal of the movies I watch, either with relatively unknown actors or well-known ones, are smaller films that didn't get much hype or theatrical release. The availability of them is one of the perks of Netflix.

Harry

I know of movies that were made with garbage cameras on less than a shoe string budget -- movies that no one would ever bother watching -- and they are on Netflix under INDY.

We have to make a division between something like "Trainspotting" and something a college kid filmed in his backyard for $40. Netflix doesn't -- trash like that they could get rid of.

syberghost

I'm told Roger Ebert is a critic, not a journalist; he can be a bit credulous.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=576480530

That would be really bad if it's true. I'm guessing Ebert doesn't know what he's talking about. I love the selection of indie films on streaming. Maybe it's a different definition of indie??

Rad

I have largely stopped using netflix...I find nothing of interest there...
The company is a shadow of its former self...

Walt D in LV

@Rad.. I'm guessing you don't watch a lot of movies. With about 300 movies a year coming out (using ONLY the statistic of how many movies are eligible for Academy Awards each year) I can't believe you wouldn't find SOME thing to watch. Then there's the fact that Netflix gets many of the new Blu-rays that come out for the older movies. That itself is as close to watching them projected as most are ever going to get.

Of the thousands and thousands of titles, I can't believe you've seen EVERYTHING. I recommend you start rating movies on Netflix (or Amazon, or Blockbuster). Netflix' recommendation system is really amazing. The more movies you rate on Netflix.com, the more accurate it becomes. It will surely start recommending movies to you that you'll like, and that you may never have heard of.

Good luck!

Frank Tien

Ebert is behind the curve on this report. Netflix over the last year has not only stopped making deal for streaming indie films from smaller distributors, they've also stopped buying DVDs from the same people.

Four years ago, Netflix made a streaming deal for a movie I produced. The money wasn't that great. About $3K for non-exclusive five year window. But what it did allow is for people around the country to instantly see the film after they read about it in magazines, other websites or getting messages from us.

Over the last five years, Netflix and RedBox have killed the videostore business. A lot of the "cool" places that were able to stock indie films are gone when their patrons thought they could get the films cheaper and faster from Netflix. All that's left is a Redbox machine which doesn't have space for a documentary. This is a crisis for indie filmmakers.

Al

This seems like another misstep for Netflix.
Indie movies were a great way to make yourself unique in the industry.

I'm starting to wonder if Reed is trying to tank the company.

coryjwilson

It's difficult subscribing to the thinking that Netflix only cares to stream major films, when films released within the past year make up so little of their options.

My guess is that as streaming is utilized at a higher volume.....the viewing selection gets much closer to the offerings of the local video store.

But as more people stream, more funding might also be available to create a larger film base. Currently, Netflix is in a crux of trying to please as many as possible..and likely not pleasing anyone as much as we'd like.

Mike Grice

Where does Ebert ET his info from? As a former indie buyer @ Netflix, this would be upsetting, but seems little more than a rumor currently.

Jeff D

Indie Films IE "movies" - don't really care. I can recall three or four indie films that I actually watched and enjoyed over the past few years.
Documentaries are actually pretty good as compared to Amazon, but can be considered "indie films".

People should also remember that the vast majority of "indie" films that are being licensed to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are under a strangle hold by major distribution companies, so these are not exactly as "indie" as everyone thinks.

just sayin'

I heard Netflix started the Great Chicago Fire.... but that doesn't necessarily make it f'ing so!!

--paraphrased from a once "indie" film... that's currently streaming on Netflix.

Where's Ebert getting his information?

Dave

I think Ebert's post may be true, but slightly misleading. It comes down to what "indie" means.

As Glebe posted above, they've been getting streaming rights and DVDs to indies like Myth of the American Sleepover and Weekend, often with streaming before DVD is even available. Other recent adds that come to mind are Weakness with Bobby Cannavale, New Low from Sundance 2010, and Tom Noonan's 90s films What Happened Was... and The Wife.

In other words, they're still adding small indies that maybe play one week in one NY theater and then go to DVD, or even film festival entries that receive acclaim but no theatrical distribution. It's their continued efforts to do this that makes me want to continue subscribing. I'm looking forward to seeing Roadie when it releases in a few weeks.

What's going on is that they're making less of an effort to carry absolutely everything, and so very small or niche films may not be carried like they used to. But such films, to be fair, are mostly not on the radar of even film festival geeks. I have to wonder if other emerging services like Snagfilms can pick up the distro slack for some of these micro titles.

Frank Tien

Two years ago at the Full Frame Documentary festival, there was a discussion about how Netflix had cut back on their purchases of documentary DVDs - getting about 1/3 of what they used to buy from distributors. The inner logic of Netflix was that people who wanted documentaries didn't mind waiting like the people who wanted that week's crummy big release (like Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill). Last year the talk was about how they had stopped buying as many titles and how important it was to get people to "Save" when your title was on the list so that they'd eve consider buying copies.

We're not talking about Netflix buying 100,000 copies of Being Elmo. They're down to buying 20 copies of a film that received a national theatrical release. Now they don't even want to do that cause Reed Hastings has lost sense of his consumers.

Shanshu73

indie like sony pictures classics and fox searchlight and focus? because all those go to starz and hbo since they have the right to those but 3/4 of new movies on netflix are true indie and or exploitation. and didn't they just sign several movies from TWC?. so i doubt it.

Steven Simons

I have about 150 movies in my streaming queue, about half of which I would call "independent" films. Maybe Netflix has cut back on buying rights to independent films (hey, what do you expect for $7.99/mo.) but there is more than enough content for me to watch. Maybe Roger is just lamenting the fact that with the demise of the local video store, there really is no place to find independent films if Netflix won't show them unless you buy them, rent them from your local library or (horror of horrors) subscribe to Starz to get access to Sony Classics movies. You sure can't find them at Redbox.

Makarov__

The main thing is Netflix keeps carrying independent films in some format. I don't use streaming often, but would obviously watch titles there if I can't them on DVD.

It is surprising they would cut back on streaming acquisitions, though, because that seems to the direction management wants to take the company. They can't be very successful just offering streaming content that's available every third month via HBO/Showtime/Starz/Encore/IFC/Sundance. While having complete TV series at your fingertips is nice, it's not enough alone to build a large business model on.

I will take a moment to point out in Netflix's most recent quarterly report where the company's profit came from. Something like 75% came from the old DVD by snail mail side of the business. It's important to note that this "half" of their business is the only portion the company has complete control over. If Warner, Sony, Universal, et al don't want to sell streaming rights to Netflix, there's nothing than can do to secure it.

On the old media side, they can buy DVDs in bulk, continue to mail them to your house, and by doctrine of 1st sale there's no way the movie studios can stop them except to stop selling DVDs.

In this light, the corporate focus on streaming "at all costs" is quite mystifying.

Denise

He "is told"? By whom? My queue is FILLED with indie flicks, there's practically nothing else, aside from TV series!

bill

Ebert is out of touch on this one. Netflix streaming got a lot of 2011 indie/foreign films on streaming concurrently or sometimes before the DVD was released. See Certified Copy/Carlos/Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

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