Streaming giant Netflix Inc NFLX is known for spending billions of dollars annually on new movies and shows to keep fresh content for its subscribers.
A leading actor called out the potential harm in this process and why he was leading a new effort.
What Happened: Actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon created a new studio called Artists Equity to make memorable movies. The studio launch came as Affleck and Damon have reunited in a new movie about the Air Jordan brand from Nike Inc NKE in a partnership with Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN. Affleck is directing, acting and collaborating on the screenplay with Alex Convery and Damon, who is also acting in the movie.
Affleck said he hoped to make movies that do well at the box office but were also remembered, “20 years later.”
“I see no difference between commercial and quality,” Affleck said in a recent interview.
Affleck noted creating quality movies takes time, so studios can’t make as many movies yearly.
“If you ask Reed Hastings … I’m sure there’s some risk in that, and I’m sure they had a great strategy, but I would have said, ‘How are we going to make 50 great movies?! How is that possible? There’s no committee big enough,’” Affleck said about the Netflix co-CEO.
Affleck questioned the process of cranking out movie after movie by Netflix.
“It’s a thing that requires attention and dedication and work and resists the assembly line process.”
Affleck said there have always been bigger audiences for bigger movies compared to small dramas.
“Certain genres play more broadly and you can’t not be mindful of that. But let’s do a good one, let’s surprise the audience, let’s make them care about it.”
RedBird founder Gerry Cardinale co-founded Artists Equity with Affleck and Damon. Cardinale shared similar sentiment at the same event.
“The first wave of streaming was about volume. The second wave is about quality,” Cardinale said.
Why It’s Important: Artists Equity launched as an artist-led studio in a push against some of the larger studios. The company plans to partner with filmmakers and creators with profit participation plans.
In a fight for content, the comments from Affleck point to a potential problem of quantity over quality. Netflix has pushed out a ton of new content year after year. Other companies such as Walt Disney Co DIS have released fewer new movies and shows a year and could be appealing to subscribers with a focus on quality.
NFLX Price Action: Netflix shares are down 1.07% to $316.95 Friday morning.
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