pherank

Cannes Festival Outcry Over Netflix Streaming

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An interesting, and perhaps inevitable, collision -

 

Cannes Is Changing Rules After Outcry Over Netflix Streaming
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/movies/cannes-changing-rules-after-netflix-controversy-in-france.html

 

"But French cinema owners had criticized Netflix for not fully participating in France’s unique system, in which a percentage of box office revenues go toward financing new films."

 

From what I can tell, the Cannes Festival is ruling in favor (naturally) of the French theaters, but they barely mention the crazy stipulation:

"Netflix has bristled at a French rule requiring a 36-month delay between a film’s release in theaters and on streaming platforms."

 

Netflix IS a streaming platform - clearly they are not going to set up a special release of their films in French theaters and then wait 3 years to show them online. All just so they can participate in the Cannes Festival. Definitely an out-of-sync policy: 3 years in our media age would be equivalent to 10 years in the Hollywood heyday of the 1930s.

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Thanks for posting, pherank. Obviously it’s better to see a movie in a cinema than on a TV, no matter how large and high-def, or your tablet, or phone.  On the other hand, if that’s where the audience is going, that’s where you go. However, the French continue to have a flourishing cinema culture and I can understand why Cannes would want to do its part to preserve that for both aesthetic and business reasons. I have no idea if this is the right way to go about it, though.

 

IMO Netflix is not the most sympathetic of victims, if it is a victim. Not long ago I sampled some of its offerings through a Comcast trial offer. Apart from a few high-profile items, a lot of what was on offer was mediocre or worse.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

Thanks for posting, pherank. Obviously it’s better to see a movie in a cinema than on a TV, no matter how large and high-def, or your tablet, or phone.  On the other hand, if that’s where the audience is going, that’s where you go. However, the French continue to have a flourishing cinema culture and I can understand why Cannes would want to do its part to preserve that for both aesthetic and business reasons. I have no idea if this is the right way to go about it, though.

 

IMO Netflix is not the most sympathetic of victims, if it is a victim. Not long ago I sampled some of its offerings through a Comcast trial offer. Apart from a few high-profile items, a lot of what was on offer was mediocre or worse.

 

Both sides have their legitimate issue(s) - Netflix seems to want to ignore how the French "cultural exception" law works, but the demand to withhold films from online streaming for 3 years while they go the rounds in French theaters will not work for a streaming business. What I haven't seen clarification on is whether that rule only affects French subscribers to the streaming service, or whether it is a world-wide moratorium. There are ways around region blocking, so there's that issue too.

 

"At the heart of the Cannes-Netflix clash is what’s known as the French cultural exception, a law that requires a percentage of all box office, DVD, video on demand, television and streaming revenues to be pooled to finance homegrown films and help finance foreign films. The law also mandates a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming date. Netflix has not wanted to participate in the French system, and that offended some in the film industry here."

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/movies/why-the-netflix-cannes-clash-couldnt-be-avoided.html

 

And then there's the competition: "Amazon Studios, says it aims for theatrical releases for its films. It has a film in competition at Cannes this year, Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck, which will be shown in theaters in France."

It is, of course, purely coincidental that Amazon will play along with the French cultural demands when Netflix appears to balk.  ;)

 

I've used both Netflix and Amazon streaming services to watch particular programs, but, like cable TV, most of what is available is, as you say, mediocre, and doesn't really appeal to me content-wise. I'm watching Twin Peaks: The Return with Amazon, but will most likely ditch the subscription afterwards. I enjoyed watching the Netflix original, Stranger Things, and re-watched some old favorites, but constant TV watching is (thankfully) not for me. The original programs on these services are often as interesting or more so than what cable TV is presenting - they have that going for them. And the talent, both in front of the camera and behind, is often as good as anything Hollywood is supplying (often it is the same people). If the Internet continues to develop and grow, then Netflix and Amazon are likely correct in thinking that the online world will replace movie theaters - for better or worse - at least in North America and much of Europe, China and Japan.

 

The cultural disease known as "terrorism" won't help this situation, since people are becoming more and more wary of events held in public places. Life lived through smart devices is looking to be the norm in the "first world".

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