Netflix is planning an incentive scheme for film-makers whose work is a success on the streaming platform, it has been reported.
According to Bloomberg, the scheme under consideration may involve bonus payments for hitting viewing targets, as well as payments for the number of major awards a film wins.
The plan is a new attempt by Netflix to assert itself as rival studios hit back in an increasingly cut-throat market, as Disney+ and Apple TV ready themselves to join the streaming fray, with NBC planning its own service, Peacock.
Traditionally, Hollywood studios have been able to offer “back end” payments – ie percentages of box office and profits – from a film’s cinema release as a part of a deal to film-makers. But with limited time in cinemas, Netflix is unable to accrue this level of income, so hitherto they have offered film-makers payment up front as well as covering their production costs.
The move is also designed to try and defuse industry hostility towards Netflix, whose policy of undermining the customary “theatrical window”, which gives cinemas an exclusive period to show new films, has led to major cinema chains refusing to show their films. Its policy of purchasing rights to well-known film-makers but then refusing to give them significant cinema release time has also caused established directors to back away.
Netflix refuses to make its viewing figures public on a regular basis, but said in June that the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston film Murder Mystery was streamed by 30.9m accounts in its first three days, while in January announced that apocalyptic thriller Bird Box was seen by 45m accounts in its first four weeks.