Why Steven Spielberg and the Rest of Old Hollywood Should Be Afraid of Netflix

Back in 2013, Netflix surprised everybody when House of Cards took home three Emmy awards, making it the first time an online-only show won an Emmy. In 2018, the streaming giant won its first Academy Award for a major motion picture.

Now, people like Steven Spielberg are arguing whether Netflix films should even be eligible for an Oscar. It looks like the success of Netflix is making old Hollywood nervous, and they have good reason to be.

Just how popular is Netflix?

People are cutting the cord left and right thanks to streaming services like Netflix. For as low as $9 per month, customers have access to thousands of movies, television shows, and original content.

Netflix has grown exponentially since its launch in 1997. According to Netflix, the online streamer has 139.26 million subscribers. That’s up 20 million from just last year.

It’s hard to beat the convenience and value Netflix offers. For a fraction of the cost of cable, users can watch hit television shows, whenever and wherever these choose. They can binge watch episodes of shows from their youth or enjoy Oscar-winning films while in their PJs.

Netflix knows what it’s viewers like

Steven Speilberg
Steven Speilberg | ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

One thing that sets Netflix apart from cable or movie production companies is their internal algorithm. Netflix knows what its users watch and it caters to that. If you have found new shows thanks to suggestions from Netflix, you can thank the algorithm for that.

Netflix uses what they call “taste communities.” There are over 2000 communities that are separated by subscribers’ viewing preferences. Netflix uses these communities to determine what type of programs each individual likes to watch and makes suggestions accordingly.

Plus, they are always bragging about their latest success (Bird Box anyone?) Because of this, they are able to recognize what type of content is trending and popular with its audiences. They use this information to release fresh and exciting movies and shows.

And they’re able to deliver with big names stars

Netflix is great at creating stars, but lately, they’ve been able to reel in some pretty big name actors and actresses to star in their original content. Over the past year, we have seen Sandra Bullock in Bird Box, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in Velvet Buzzsaw, and Jennifer Aniston in Dumplin.

Just this month, Netflix released Triple Frontier starring Ben Affleck. Netflix calls the movie a mix between The Hurt Locker and The House. With the backlash coming from Spielberg and company about Netflix and the Oscars, Affleck sides with Netflix. He told reporters that Netflix is helping to define “where the future of cinema and distribution is going.” In an interview with Today, the actor said, “to do a movie for Netflix is no different from doing a movie anywhere else. We’re just trying to do our job.”

Netflix can even turn failing shows into hits

How many networks can say that they took a failing show and turned into a major hit? That’s exactly what Netflix did with the Penn Badgley series You. Season one of You originally premiered on the Lifetime television channel. But the show wasn’t getting too much attention.

Netflix decided they wanted to take a chance on the show and suddenly things were a lot different. The show became an instant sensation and fans everywhere were debating whether Joe Goldberg was suffering from misguided love or he was just plain creepy. There were even talks that Joe Goldberg was Dan Humphrey (Badgley Gossip Girl character) as an adult.

Whether you side with Spielberg or with Affleck, one thing’s for sure. Netflix is changing the game for movies and television. The more they grow and continue to bring in big name stars and produce successful hits, the more those around them are going to have to adapt.