STREAMING SATURDAY: Can’t Buy Me the Newest Movies

Netflix and other streaming services might be spending big money on original programming, but that money can’t buy me the newest movies!

When some pundits hear that Netflix is spending $5 billion last year to acquire original content, it begs certain questions. One of those questions might be “Why does Netflix think original programming is the way to go when movie theaters can’t get people into seats unless they show sequels and franchises?” Whether they realize it or not, this person has already answered their own question. In short, it speaks to the fact that Netflix’s biggest strengths are also its biggest weaknesses. It’s the same for the other big-spending streaming services.

What is Netflix Original Content?
Most of the original shows on Netflix – the ones that everyone is talking about – are series. Whether it’s Stranger Things, Bloodlines, or any of the Marvel superhero franchises, these programs typically last a number of seasons. Around the water coolers of offices across the country, people are discussing these and other original programs from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming services. There’s no doubt that people enjoy an ongoing series with the stories and characters they love, which surely inspires Netflix’s expenditures.

It’s Not Just Netflix
Netflix isn’t the only one rolling out some big coin to acquire new content. Amazon Prime Video is spending $4.5 million to obtain the rights to new streaming video services. Streaming stations aren’t the only ones. More traditional stations are getting in on the act, too. ESPN spent about $7.3 billion on content last year, which includes the rights to broadcast various sports leagues. NBC spent about $4.3 billion, and CBS trailed its competitor with a $4 billion content budget.

Movies Are Still in the Mix
While series seem to reign supreme in the streaming landscape, Netflix is not oblivious to original movies. This month alone, the streaming giant will debut some fresh new Netflix original movies that include Small Crimes with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Sandy Wexler, starring Adam Sandler. This is hardly new – Netflix has acquired the rights for many original movies and documentaries – nor is it limited to Netflix. Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services all have their selections of original programming, as well.

The One Thing That’s Missing…
While it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of original streaming content, I find myself wishing that Netflix and other streaming services would do a better job at acquiring newly-released movies. With two young kids at home, it’s not that easy for Mrs. Buckler and I to sally forth to our neighborhood multiplex for the latest first-run films. We’d gladly pay for these films at home, but the availability usually bypass our modest selection of streaming services. Such is the case with M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, Split. If I really want to see it, my best bet is to buy it on DVD or Blu Ray, but I’d prefer to stream it. I’ve already written about why Netflix isn’t the Blockbuster of streaming services.