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Netflix to transform “antiquated” movie windows

Netflix’s investment in movies could help drive the transformation of the way movies are released and windowed, according to Ted Sarandos, the streaming VOD company’s chief content officer.

Ted Sarandos large“We do want to be more active [in movie production]. The current model for distribution of movies is pretty antiquated – waiting ten months or more for home video exploitation,” said Sarandos, speaking at MIPCOM in Cannes this morning. “We want to accelerate the model and do it day and date in theatres and on Netflix and we’ll fund the movies to make it work,” he said.

Netflix is investing in a follow-up to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well as a series of films with Hollywood star Adam Sandler. Sarandos said Netflix will move rapidly into production with its first Adam Sandler movie, with the film expected to be relased late next year or in early 2016.

Sarandos said the current movie distribution model had not kept pace with consumer behaviour. “You should be able to choose which way you watch the movie,” he said.

He said Netflix “wants to restore choice” rather than to “destroy windowing”.

Sarandos also said that Netflix would be able to deliver 4K video-on-demand with current broadband speeds, thanks to new compression technology. “You are getting the highest resolution possible, streaming from Netflix,” he said.

Netflix’s next big original, Marco Polo, will premier on December 12, said Sarandos. The series will be “something you have never seen on television”, he said.

Netflix has been “very encouraged” with the viewing behaviour on the platform in France to date since its launch in that country, Sarandos said. Orange is the New Black is the most watched show both in France and Germany, he added, while also saying there is strong demand for content that has not previously been available in European territories.

Sarandos said Netflix has differentiated its service by offering more choice, for example providing both subtitling and dubbing to give consumers alternatives that they never previously had.

Sarandos said Marseille, Netflix’s original for France, would be released at the end of 2015 or early 2016. “We are confident this show will be widely accessed in France but will also be exported around the world,” he said.

Marseille is “at some level symbolic” but the SVOD provider is also investing in animation content in France, the exec added.