In a major move for the streaming company, Steven Spielberg is partnering with Netflix. The partnership with Amblin Partners, the film and TV production studio led by the veteran director, will include multiple new feature films per year for Netflix.
With Netflix already leading the entertainment streaming market with the most subscribers, will this deal help the company widen its gap with its competitors? Let’s explore what the Spielberg deal means for Netflix and streaming.
It Makes Sense for Spielberg to Partner With Netflix
Spielberg has brought us some of the most loved films, including Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park.
Amblin’s recent track record of critical and box office hits includes Green Book, which won the Best Picture Oscar, and 1917, which won three Oscars, two Golden Globes, and grossed nearly $400 million at the worldwide box office.
Importantly, Netflix and Amblin have previously worked together on the highly rated, Academy Award-nominated The Trial of the Chicago 7, and are collaborating on Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein film Maestro.
Scott Stuber, Netflix Head of Global Film, commented on the Netflix-Spielberg deal in a press release:
Amblin and Steven Spielberg are synonymous with incredible entertainment. Their passion and artistry combine to make films that both captivate and challenge audiences. We look forward to working with Steven, Jeff and the entire Amblin family on a new slate of films that will delight generations for years to come.
How Spielberg Can Help Netflix Compete in a Crowded Streaming Marketplace
In addition to boosting its subscriber growth after a slow start in 2021, the Netflix-Spielberg deal could help to keep Netflix ahead of its competitors in an ever-growing market.
It’s no secret that the demand for streaming content has increased over the years, and it continues to rise thanks to recent global events. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the world’s population under lockdown, as millions of individuals stay behind closed doors and opt for online streaming and entertainment services.
As a result, video streaming services have experienced a rise of around 10% in viewership, and the global video streaming market size was valued at $50.11 billion in 2020, according to a Grand View Research report.
Unlike with cinemas and film studios, the coronavirus pandemic has produced a surge in subscribers and revenue as consumers grow a larger appetite for online video content as they spend more time at home.
Netflix added more than 40 million subscribers in 2020, according to a Netflix shareholder letter, far outpacing its projections. Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Disney+ are among other streaming services that have registered a spike in viewership worldwide.
While Netflix leads the entertainment streaming market with more than 200 million subscribers, competitors such as Disney+ remain hot on its heels, with new market entrants trailing behind, seeking to get a piece of the entertainment streaming pie.
Considering this, Netflix could use a boost in an effort to stay ahead of the game. And what better way to stay ahead of the competition than with a partnership with blockbuster film director Steven Spielberg?
Who Else Has Netflix Signed Deals With?
Spielberg follows in the footsteps of director Martin Scorsese, who released the award-winning film The Irishman on Netflix in 2019.
The famed director, who is responsible for famous mobster films such as Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed, struggled for seven years to finance passion project The Irishman… until Netflix came on board. The deal with Netflix allowed Scorsese to do what he does best, minus the stress of financing the years-long project.
The sweet spot? The film would be made available in cinemas and then released to Netflix subscribers just four weeks later—a break from the traditional 90-day window between a film being shown in cinemas and then being released via streaming platforms for at-home viewing.
So, how did The Irishman fare on streaming? The film was watched by more than 17 million unique Netflix viewers in the US in the first five days of its streaming release, registering an average minute audience of 13.2 million over that time span, according to Nielsen’s report (via Variety).
It also raked in an average minute audience of nearly 2.6 million viewers and 3.9 million unique viewers upon premiering in the US on November 27th, according to the same report.
Netflix, on the other hand, reported in a tweet that the film was watched by more than 26 million accounts globally in its first week, and was expected to reach about 40 million household accounts in its first 28 days of airing. Netflix counts a viewer as one who watches at least 70% of a film.
What Deals Are Other Streaming Services Making?
Netflix isn’t the only streaming service to partner with film directors. Following the success of his deal with Netflix, Martin Scorsese cut a multi-year deal with Apple TV+ in which his company, Sikelia Productions, would produce and direct both films and TV projects for the streaming service.
As a part of the deal, Scorsese’s film Killers of the Flower Moon, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, would arrive on Apple TV+ after being distributed in theaters by Paramount Pictures. It had a budget of $180 million.
The deal came less than a year after Scorsese’s The Irishman debuted on Netflix. And, in a way, the film director has previously worked with Apple, having remotely directed a shot in The Departed via iChat in 2007.
This deal wasn’t Apple’s first big movie signing, either. The company premiered Tom Hanks’ WWII naval drama Greyhound in August 2020, a month before the deal with Scorsese was announced.
While there are no official statistics available for the film’s performance on Apple, Deadline reported that it generated the largest opening weekend ever for Apple TV+, with 30% of its viewers being new to the service.
This may be because the film’s planned theatrical release was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning Apple would be the only platform to show it to eager eyes.
Among other movies coming to Apple are thrillers Emancipation, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Will Smith; Snow Blind, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and directed by Gustav Möller; as well as another WWII limited series Masters of the Air from Steven Spielberg and Playtone’s Hanks and Goetzman.
What These Deals Mean for Netflix
While Netflix’s competitors also boast big-time directors and award-winning actors, considering Netflix’s current grip on the streaming market, we don’t think the company has anything to worry about just yet.
However, due to the world continuing to put lockdowns in place as a result of the ongoing pandemic, and movie theaters remaining closed in some parts of the world, the demand for at-home entertainment will continue to rise.
For this reason, Netflix may want to look into securing more deals with film directors so that it can both increase its viewership among current subscribers and also capture new viewers—much like Apple did with the release of Greyhound—as viewers get somewhat of a movie theater experience at home.
If you want to watch Netflix on your TV, you’ll need the app. Here’s how to get it.
About The Author