Accusations, control and solutions .. Will “Netflix” destroy world cinema?


09:00 am

Saturday 15 January 2022

Books – Abdel Fattah Al-Ajmi:

The Netflix platform has recently been facing accusations of trying to eliminate cinemas around the world, in light of the successful replacement of home viewing patterns for movies, in parallel with the high budgets of film production and marketing costs.

Netflix’s journey to control what the audience watches!

The activity of Netflix began in 1997, specializing in the rental and sale of DVDs for movies and series. Reed Hastings decided to found Netflix after a blockbuster movie rental store imposed a $40 delay fine for delaying the return of a copy of the Apollo 13 movie. The irony is that “Blockbuster”, which fined “Hastings” for deciding to establish “Netflix”, became in news after it had thousands of branches in the United States only.

Reed Hastings, founder of Netflix

Ten years after the founding of Netflix, the company announced the move to the Internet. In 2013, she produced the first season of the series House of Cards, and with the success of the experiment, she decided to go into production and change her strategy, which was based on show only.

In 2017, 20 years after the founding of Netflix, it produced 21 films, and in 2021 the number reached 90 films during the year. In January 2021, the number of Netflix subscribers exceeded 200 million users worldwide.

On October 19, 2021, Netflix announced that it achieved profits that exceeded analysts expectations in the third quarter of 2021, and earnings per share came to $3.19, compared to expectations of $2.56, and recorded revenues of about $7.48 billion, in line with expectations, while net additions to global paid subscribers recorded 4.4 million subscribers. Against expectations of 3.84 million, showing investors that the platform can continue to attract new subscribers.

Accusations leveled at Netflix

With this incursion into the film industry around the world by Netflix, which we are contemporary with; She was accused of trying to destroy world cinema. Opinions differed on that.

Writer Josh Dickey said in an April 2017 article published by mashable, that the movie industry, which has been able to survive for more than 120 years, is now dying in the living room of our homes, stressing that movie theaters are slowly dying, through movie broadcasting sites via the Internet. The Internet, stressing that cinemas will not last more than 10 to 15 years.

As for Jason Squire, a film specialist and professor of American cinematic arts in California, he told the German news agency “DPA”, September 2018, that predictions indicating the collapse of traditional cinema are not new, as similar concerns had emerged during the period In which digital video recorders became popular, and later also with the spread of the Internet.

While a study dating back four years conducted by the American Association of Theater Owners showed that those who frequent theaters also watch the “Netflix” platform, which means that the two can coexist, and that one is not a substitute for the other.

As for Netflix’s response to the accusations against it, founder Reed Hastings, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, compared the global platform to eating home-cooked chicken and going to a theater with chicken in a restaurant, saying: “Restaurants did not ask people to refrain from eating at home. , is not it?”.

The numbers indicate an effect. With the rise of the shares of Netflix and other platforms that broadcast movies on the Internet, the American movie industry recorded in 2017 the lowest sales since 1992, and theaters were unable to control the decline in total revenues further, except by raising ticket prices. its income, to record revenues of 11.2 billion dollars. But is this a real indicator?

Tariq El-Shennawy: The solution lies in the hands of the cinema!

Tariq El-Shennawy

“Masrawy” phoned art critic Tariq El-Shennawy, and we asked him, “Does Netflix really destroy international cinema, especially since the revenue figures in the past years indicate a decline?” He replied: “Film revenues vary, and the decline in revenues in a year is not due to the spread of electronic platforms, The movie “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, whose revenues in 2021, for example, exceeded one billion US dollars around the world… Breaking the world… and it is a living example in our hands.”

on the coexistence of cinema and platforms; El-Shennawy says: “The cinema has to develop its tools more, in two directions, making the film, and showing the film, making the film through imaging techniques and others. Showing the film is related to the same screen in theaters by offering something different from the platforms, which increases the attractiveness of the films, And then, no matter how many platforms and films there are, the audience will not dispense with the cinema. This explains that some who pay, for example, 500 pounds, which is a large number for the average Egyptian citizen, to spend a movie night with his family, while other films are shown on electronic platforms and he can watch them from home. .

El-Shennawy confirms: “I see that Netflix and other platforms are an invitation to filmmakers to further improve their tools and produce better films for the cinema audience. The world knew television in the forties, and there was fear for cinema at the time. The audience could watch the film on television, so why go to the cinema? Despite that Cinema continued, strengthening its attractions, and that also happened with the advent of the video. Did the video hit the cinema? It didn’t happen.”

He concludes: “Previous experiences have confirmed that in many cases, external aggression is a reason for maintaining survival, even in the world of psychology, when a person searches for his survival for fear of an external enemy who discovers extraordinary abilities in himself. Let us consider platforms as an external aggression against cinema, the film industry is man The one who was surprised by the attempt to attack him, the solution for the industry to develop itself with extraordinary capabilities to continue to continue .. If an old man can only walk with difficulty and finds a train coming on him, he will run and jump like Mohamed Salah until he survives .. The world cinema will move with a leap.

Magda Khairallah: Neither Netflix nor anything else will destroy cinema!

Magda Khairallah

We also asked the same question to the critic Magda Khairallah; She said: “Netflix is ​​destroying the cinema! How can we say that platforms in general destroy cinema and now we see the huge revenues of Spider-Man: No Way Home, for example! Terrifying revenues, and other films also have amazing numbers, platforms did not affect the cinema and will not affect, people consider going Cinema is one of the most important means of entertainment in their lives.

She adds: “Netflix films and other platforms belong to a certain type of business, and the films that are released in cinemas are of another quality, and we cannot say that platform films have lower production costs, for example, The Irishman, which was shown on Netflix in 2019, its production costs were huge, and it It was also shown in cinemas for a while before being shown on the stage so that it could be seen by a larger number of audiences in the world.”

on the coexistence of cinema and platforms; Khairallah says: “I see platforms as an aid to cinema. Not all films, when released in theaters, will succeed in reaping revenues. Therefore, it is necessary to have other means to watch films such as platforms, as was once the video and DVD, and then it was also said that The cinema will be destroyed, and this did not happen, which is the same as what was said before that after the spread of television.. People like to go to the cinema, no matter what platforms do, neither Netflix nor others will destroy the cinema.

The launch of Netflix in Egypt came in January 2016 as an entertainment presence, before it began in December 2017, its production launch, and the Netflix streaming service is available in more than 190 countries.


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