Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Forget Netflix and chill. This famous director would like to chill Netflix.
The story of Netflix is the story of a company that knows how to pivot. But now, there's a new chapter and a new challenge: a small proposed rule change that could present an giant challenge to the company's key strategy.
You probably know this, but just in case, Netflix got its start two decades ago as a mail-based alternative to Blockbuster and local video stores. They'd literally mail you physical DVDs in a little envelope.
(For my younger readers, they used to have these things called DVDs...)
Then, Netflix saw the future. They shifted to digital. They built the largest video distribution network on the planet. Then, they realized distribution doesn't mean much if you don't have access to the content people want to watch.
So, Netflix pivoted again, to become a content producer.
In 2018, the company spent an estimated $12 billion on new programming. They introduced an average of two brand new shows almost every single day last year.
But, they needed something more. If you want the premium content that viewers really want, you have to make sure that creators view deals with streaming services positively -- from an artistic perspective.
In other words, Netflix never wants to lose out on a movie because a director thinks of streaming services as something less desirable than a deal with an old school Hollywood producer and distributor.
Netflix's plan involves pouring on the prestige. Hence, the reported $25 million Netflix spent last year to try to get a Best Picture award for its film, "Roma," at the Oscars.
Because Spielberg, who is really a competitor to Netflix in many ways, has been pushing hard to disqualify streaming services from the Oscars. Ostensibly, his gripe is that Neflix gives its Oscar-worthy films a short theatrical run to qualify for awards, before pulling them from theaters.
Related video: Will Steven Spielberg get Netflix ousted from the Oscars? (provided by CBS News)
- Markets 'hell week' almost over — Cramer reviews winnersCramer says that one of his favorite ways of picking winning stocks is to wait for a truly ugly session, a real bruiser and see what's still hanging in there.CNBC
- The US increases tariffs and China threatens retaliationA U.S.-imposed 25% tariff on Chinese imports went into effect at midnight on Friday. What does this new levy mean for both countries and future trade negotiations? Photo Composite: Crystal TaiThe Wall Street Journal.
- Jeff Bezos unveils Blue Origin's lunar lander Blue MoonWe’re getting a clearer look at the spacecraft that could one day bring people to the moon. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday showed off Blue Moon, a lunar lander developed by Bezos' spaceflight company Blue Origin. Its reveal comes nearly two months after the White House announced its goal of returning to the moon. Mark Strassmann reports.CBS News
Will Steven Spielberg get Netflix ousted from the Oscars?CBS News1:02
Markets 'hell week' almost over — Cramer reviews winnersCNBC4:25
The US increases tariffs and China threatens retaliationThe Wall Street Journal.2:20
Jeff Bezos unveils Blue Origin's lunar lander Blue MoonCBS News2:16
How will the tariff increase impact Americans?CBS News5:24
It’s time to break up Facebook, co-founder saysReuters1:55
Uber IPO values company at twice the size of FordCBS News3:00
Outsourced parenting: From baby stylists to potty trainers, parents look for outside helpUSA TODAY1:16
Hog farmer on tariffs: Agriculture needs a winFox Business1:42
3 of the best US cities for recent college gradsThe Wall Street Journal.3:30
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez want to cap credit card interest rates at 15%CNBC1:36
Trump says China 'broke the deal' on tradeReuters2:28
General Motors adds jobs in Ohio as it mulls selling Lordstown plantNewsy1:06
Venezuela in crisis: What you need to knowUSA TODAY2:07
Here's how Uber loses moneyCNBC1:04
Why the agency that regulates Boeing is under scrutinyThe Wall Street Journal.8:58
"I don't believe that films that are just given token qualifications, in a couple of theaters for less than a week, should qualify," Speilberg said, adding, "Once you commit to a television format, you're a TV movie."
That quote is from a year ago, but reports are that Speilberg plans to "speak out about Netflix at the next Academy meeting."
Netflix pushed back gently on Twitter Monday, tweeting, "We love cinema," and adding that they also love things like:?
- "Access for people who can't always afford, or live in towns without theaters,"
- "Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time," and
- "Giving filmmakers more ways to share art."
No, it's not exactly the St. Crispin's Day speech, but so far public sentiment seems to favor Netflix over Spielberg, anyway (not that public sentiment necessarily means anything when it comes to the Oscars).
If Netflix weren't able to compete for awards like the Oscars, that could tarnish its image a bit in the eyes of creators. And that could mean missing out on a few truly top productions that can make or break a company's year.
That in turn would undermine the whole content strategy -- which could mean yet another pivot. Fortunately for Netflix, that's one thing the company has shown it's good at.
Bill Murphy Jr. is a contributing editor at Inc.com.