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by Anthony Kaufman
September 27, 2011 3:37 AM
40 Comments
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The Decline of Indies on Netflix: Were They Amputated With the Long Tail?

Netflix was founded on the principle that it provided access to movies -- all movies, including the most obscure indie titles. By promising to sell less of more, it was a new-economy poster child, a publicly traded argument for the long tail.

Today, it looks like Netflix is docking its tail with a more old-fashioned strategy: Give (most of) the people (most of) what they want. And while Netflix -- and some of its suppliers -- are quick to defend the company's indie stance, it's clear some smaller players are being pushed aside.

According to indie filmmakers and distributors, the shift began a year or two ago when Netflix changed their buying metric — the measure of how many DVD titles they purchase on individual films. One distributor says the company used to take smaller-title DVDs in relatively modest orders of 30-60 units, whereas they're now focused on reordering only titles that can sustain hundreds of units. (Netflix corporate communications VP Steve Swasey won't comment on the number of DVDs the company orders.)

"Before, they would buy inventory for rental stock and then reorder if the title gained traction," says Facets Multimedia's executive director Milos Stehlik. "Now they skip over many, if not most titles."

Stehlik says Netflix interest on smaller titles was piqued only if "enough people put them into their queue." He notes that he recently received a reorder for Bela Tarr's "Werckmeister Harmonies," based on demand. However, he points out that for other films, the queue represents "a self-defeating spiral, since most independent films can't get the kind of public traction to get noticed in the marketplace."

The metric had a devastating impact on microdistributor Carnivalesque Films. Operated by filmmaker-distributors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin ("Mardis Gras: Made in China"), Carnivalesque is closing its doors next month, in part, as a result of the new Netflix model.

"When they couldn't commit to buying our films anymore, that really cut out a big chunk of money," he says. Redmon noticed a sharp change in tactics after Netflix's indie film buyer, Mike Grice, was let go last year.

Post-Grice, Redmon says, there was far less transparency from Netflix about how many queue adds were necessary to make a physical DVD order. "Every month, we'd email Netflix and ask, 'How much more do we need in people's queues?' and they'd always say, 'It's not there yet, but we'll let you know when it is.'"

Factory 25 founder Matt Grady says he's seen several of his company's films "fade away" on Netflix because they did not meet the new metric's requirements, including critically acclaimed dance film "NY Export: Opus Jazz."

Other Factory 25 docs, such as "You Weren't There: A History of Chicago Punk" and "All the Way from Michigan Not Mars" had been available as DVDs in the past, but are now no longer part of the service. "They said demand wasn't high enough," says Grady.

Netflix strongly defends the company's indie cred. "Netflix acquires content that we know that is going to have an audience," Swasey says. "We don't buy everything out there, because it would not be cost effective. But most independent films do have a following."

But how is "a following" measured in Netflix's streaming universe? Netflix confirms that it no longer uses the queue as a demand yardstick for streaming titles. (And as a customer, your streaming queue doesn't save or make note of unfulfilled requests.) However, Netflix won't say how it determines which titles are worthy of streaming. Says Swasey, "We have different metrics for streaming, but we don't disclose them."

According to distributors we spoke to, streaming agreements were either based on box-office returns or output deals with aggregators. (Redmon bowed out of a streaming deal with Netflix because he did not want to work with a larger aggregator.)

However, Swasey's strongest argument for Netflix's indie commitment is economic. Since Netflix can't afford to buy first-window streaming rights on the biggest new releases, Netflix will do what it's always done: Use its recommendation engine to push the product (some of it indie) they do have.

"Independent filmmakers have a haven with Netflix," he says.

However, there's also an economic argument for Netflix being more selective about its streaming product: DVD shelf space is cheaper than streaming server costs.

"If you have two films -- one that is hot and streams constantly and another that sits there on the server waiting to be called -- you'll move the catalog title off the server and substitute it for something else," says IndiePix president Bob Alexander. "Does that happen? All the time. We had a number of titles that did not get renewed."

Alexander also says licensing fees on streaming deals he's recently closed "do not reflect the incredible growth in [Netflix's] subscriber platform since last July." Alexander pegs those fees as being "at the low end of cable licenses" — or about 1 cent per viewer over the first year of the license.


He believes that as Netflix grows, it will give way to more episodic television programming because that's what the audience wants. "Netflix doesn't need indie film today," he says.

However, Netflix's commitment to indie film may be all about how you define the term. There's little doubt that smaller titles, with less demand, have been pushed off the service. But longstanding indie companies with catalogs and established track records have only good things to say about the company as it transforms.

"Netflix is still a good partner," says Music Box Films' William Schopf, whose company has an output deal for streaming rights. "They have a specific subscriber base that likes foreign and arthouse cinema."

Kino Lorber's Richard Lorber says he's seen a growth in the licensing fees and number of units he's sending to Netflix and believes it will continue providing a breadth of titles. "That's going to remain their key differentiator, helping expand audiences with titles not widely available elsewhere," he says.

Erick Opeka, VP of VOD and digital distribution at New Video, the largest aggregator of indie films in North America, has also "seen a considerable increase in the number of titles taken in 2011, despite the bigger deals announced with networks and studios," he says. "We anticipate this trend to continue into 2012."

There's also Netflix’s recent partnership with the Sundance Institute's Artist Services Distribution initiative, which gives undistributed films from the festival – such as Tiffany Shlain’s "Connected," and Andrew Okpeaha Maclean’s "On the Ice" – access to Netflix's 25 million users. "To me, that speaks volumes about their commitment to the space," says Opeka.

Others remain skeptical.

In a guest column for the Chicago Tribune, Facets' Stehlik wrote, "I doubt any large commercial enterprise with a goal of serving the millions has the nurturing of these little films at its heart."

Up until a few months ago, filmmaker Michael Tully says his music doc "Silver Jew" was available to rent by mail on Netflix; now, it's not. Likewise, his 2006 indie drug drama "Cocaine Angel" was available for both disc and streaming, but when the streaming rights ran out, Netflix dropped the title. He likens the company's indie commitment "to the pretty girl in class that you think might actually like you, until you realize she just wanted to borrow your Sharpie."

But it's Redmon who perhaps best reflects the sentiment among many indie filmmakers about Netflix's long tail strategy going forward. "Suddenly, I guess that tail was cut off," he says, "because we were at the end of it."

40 Comments

  • angel | December 5, 2012 7:17 PMReply

    If netflix is gonna soley rely on big name movies then Redbox is gonna hurt them.

  • Barry A. | June 12, 2012 1:34 AMReply

    @all Not everything indie is bad either. It's good to see variety. <3 indie.

    Also, a friend is working hard on the next Kinoflix a metaplatform for independent film, bringing more choice onto new and traditional devices (web, mobile and connected tv).

  • moviemaker2008 | October 4, 2011 11:04 AMReply

    Eamonn Bowles says "Netflix isn’t an arts organization."
    Of course they're not. But what set Netflix apart from Blockbuster or any other major company when Netflix started out, was that it offered fare NOT widely available at other places. With all due respect, I can't imagine Mr. Bowles not actually remembering this.

    So in addition to offering a service not previously provided (DVD by mail), Netflix offered more than what a typical Blockbuster offered. BOTH of these factors is what caused its growth from the starting gate (besides their massive marketing). NOT just the former factor.

    But like any company that grows and becomes hugely successful, roots are usually forgotten because for that company to maintain accelerated growth, it must become more "mainstream." We've all seen this happen with numerous other businesses. Mr. Bowles' statement "If there is demand for a film, it [Netflix] most definitely will service that demand" is not exactly accurate -- and it's beside the point. Netflix didn't start and maintain their business model of including indies simply because there WAS a demand for them. One could argue that demand for indies is always limited. But it was part of the company's strategy for their business. And by offering a wide range of movies and documentaries not widely available elsewhere, they ultimately CREATED the demand for this product.

    And don't forget... they even held a competition for developing a system (that was then implemented) that would better serve each individual user's taste in films -- which is what actually helped CREATE MORE demand for movies people would never have known about or seen.

    The fact that Netflix began moving away from acquiring most new decent/good indie films at least 2 if not 3 years ago -- this is what is causing a segment of the public to bitch and moan. (Not everyone, of course, since a huge portion of their massive subscriber base now consists of people who only care about mainstream movies & TV shows.)

    Netflix will survive their missteps and mistakes, they'll survive Reed Hastings' email apology-but-not-really, as well as his video address to the public. ;) But there's no question that there is room for other businesses in the marketplace to pick up the slack that Netflix is leaving behind. Every "little" indie distributor that has become wildly successful (like Magnolia) has proven that there IS a market for independent fare.

    GREAT comments above, by the way, and worth reading from:
    xzolox, jeanvigo, Marc McCloud, Barry R Sisson (#'s 27-30).

    JC
    --------------------------
    "THE SECRETS TO DISTRIBUTION: Get Your Movie Distributed Now!"
    http://www.Distribution.LA
    http://www.facebook.com/FilmDistribution

  • L.A. Proper | September 30, 2011 9:40 AMReply

    I knew Netflix's indie cred was suspect when I discovered my award-winning comedy, "L.A. Proper" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzpR7-HQZ78) was listed on the site without my knowledge. When I contacted NF to investigate, they replied they didn't know how the title became listed...and that they had no plans to actually offer it.

    I asked them to remove "L.A. Proper" from the site and they refused. This was a year ago and the title is still there.

    I am constantly forced to direct people to Youtube to view "L.A. Proper", after they realize they cannot stream or rent from Netflix.

    "L.A. Proper" on YT
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzpR7-HQZ78

  • Bad Brain | September 30, 2011 4:30 AMReply

    Interesting discussion. So many angles here. One thing that I haven't seen across the board in this debate, here or elsewhere is the fact that NOT EVERYTHING INDIE IS GOOD!!! there's a fair amount of crap!!

    In Indie music as well as film. I think we forget that sometimes, and automatically, reflexively wanna support "indie" cos it's the "right thing to do". Well, I've seen TONS of indie films , I lived in a small NJ town (red bank) with a small cinema (for a time TWO) that supported indie films, massively. While most were awesome and memorable, many were CRAP. Conversely -- I'll watch the evil-big-conglomerate Matrix, Start Wars, Indiana Jones etc movies over and over for the rest of my life. So it's a mix. Indie does NOT always equal "awesome/must see!!", and I really see that people fall into that mindset.

    I still say for even, say, $30 a month, if you have a family where you would utilize 12-15 DVD movies a months -- it's clearly a great economic deal -- and uses less fossil fuel if you go with the streaming model. Funny how the hipsters, who are usually all "pro-green", forget that part : streaming is very green !. What about all the plastic (OIL!!) in a DVD and it's package, and the fossil fuel to deliver them to your local/indie video store, and the fossil fuel to go drive and pick them up ( I know i know, most people fold that stop into another trip).

    But a lot of what we're seeing here is what the people who made or profited from the horse & buggy, telegrams, fax-machines, beepers/pagers, and now CDs and DVD, all went thru when CHANGE HAPPENED. Yes it sucks big time and I feel for the people who will be phased out. But life happens. You get extinct when another business model makes far more sense. Sorry. Real life. It's like the lumberjacks who freak out and say "I deserve to do this as a living!! My grandfather and HIS great grandfather all were lumberjacks!!". Well, sincerely sorry, bro, but ...the world changes.

    Streaming will continue to dominate, as long as there's an internet. Legally and Illegally. Netflix may be gone in five years and something else is there but this is the way we will get music and movies. Period. You will not stop it. OF COURSE, just like many people are buying vinyl, many will still insist on DVDs, that's TOTALLY COOL. But it's interesting to see people come up with all kinds of illogical attacks on Netflix -- same people who thought they were cool upstarts a few years ago.

    Bottom line - We are all lucky we are not spending half the day trying to procure fresh water for our near-starving family of six, somewhere in the Sudan, India, or war-torn Afghanistan. We are all lucky to be sitting in front of laptops, debating whether it's "fair" for a free-market company to offer UNLIMITED STREAMING for $6.00, $9.00 or $10.00. We're doing fine and I hope we take a breath sometimes and realize how unimportant this is - ALL THESE OPTIONS SPEAK TO OUR SAFE, LUXURIOUS LIVES by comparison.

  • Angel Ibarra | December 5, 2012 7:13 PM

    Its easy to say this when it doesnt affect you, i doubt you are an indie filmmaker, yet you want to speak for them how ridiculous, ignorant, and empathetic of you. You can take a break and call this unimportant while indie filmmakers are investing everything they have, working every minute of their day, just to hope it makes money in the end in order to move their families forward in life. But sure go ahead take a break from this exhausting post. pssshhh please.

  • red_locker | September 29, 2011 4:28 AMReply

    Is it just me, or are there a lot of people advertising Netflix alternatives in the comments section? ;)

  • Chris Brandt | September 29, 2011 1:42 AMReply

    My documentary was pulled after it didn't meet Netflix metrics a year ago. I completely understand this thought process for streaming, but for the DVDs? How is it not cost effective to have at least one of every DVD available? They pay wholesale price, so it's not as if they're having to pay royalties or anything. Does their infrastructure or business model really not allow for such an archive?

    At the very least, it would be nice if they'd make it clear that the titles were canceled by their choice, and not because it's "not currently available"...or if they'd make it clear that it's not available on Netflix, and NOT out of print.

    http://www.independentsdoc.com

  • Chris Brandt | September 29, 2011 1:40 AMReply

    My documentary was pulled after it didn't meet Netflix metrics a year ago. I completely understand this thought process for streaming, but for the DVDs? How is it not cost effective to have at least one of every DVD available? They pay wholesale price, so it's not as if they're having to pay royalties or anything. Does their infrastructure or business model really not allow for such an archive?

    At the very least, it would be nice if they'd make it clear that the titles were canceled by their choice, and not because it's "not currently available"...or if they'd make it clear that it's not available on Netflix, and NOT out of print.

    http://www.independentsdoc.com

  • Marc McCloud | September 28, 2011 12:47 PMReply

    I own two video stores in Asheville, NC and have been a huge supporter of independent films since we have opened. While we are doing fine, Netflix streaming has taken a chunk of our business away due to their acquiring indie films cheaply to pad their inventory. Now it looks like what I have been warning people about for years is coming true. As Netflix matures, they will drop these films. To them a film is product. To us and thousands of other video store owners across North America, indie films are our passion and a huge reason to keep our doors open.

    To those that make and distribute independent films, I want to tell you this: we are still here and still excited about your movies. It's hard not sounding like sour grapes, but we receive almost ZERO support from studios. Video stores are a distribution channel where millions of people go to watch a movie. Utilize us.

  • jeanvigo | September 28, 2011 7:42 AMReply

    There is nothing wrong with what Eamonn Bowles said. It is perfectly sensible. In fact, I don't know Mr. Bowles, but I'm thankful his company, Magnolia, has filled a big void for US viewers by bringing titles like "I Am Love," "Humpday," "Bronson," "Man On Wire," and, most recently, "Melancholia" to theatres (among many others.) Not to mention their commitment to getting docs out there when most distribs have just vanished in that area.

    There's 2 points here:

    1. What are we talking about when we say "indie films" in this discussion? There is huge gulf between something like "Crazy Heart" "Winter's Bone" or "The Messenger" let's say, and those indies that fall into a a DIY across-the-board category (that are good films but don't have the luck of a Sundance or Toronto selection.

    2. I would gather that the implied reference here regarding Netflix is of the latter category of a "DIY indie.

    Therefore, here is where the filmmakers themselves have to build the good ol' grassroots campaign through social media and any other ingenious means to draw attention to their film. Once there is a niche of a bona fide audience out there to justify churn on the streaming and rentals, Netflix, as a for-profit company, is NOT going to forego taking on a title that they think could turn 1,000 rentals let's say.

    We, have an obligation to our promote our films if we don't have the luxury of well-funded theatrical/DVD distrib. This isn't difficult thinking. It's logical. Love your film? Work for it. Get other people to love it. Build a campaign, word-of-mouth. It ain't easy, but it's all you have.

  • xzolox | September 28, 2011 4:28 AMReply

    Any major supplier using long-tail is a temporary autonomous zone for indies at best. "Temporary," in this context, because they only use long-tail to gobble market share in the beginning... then once they've secured the market, all that long-tail product is a hassle. We've seen it with iTunes, Best Buy, Amazon, and now Netflix. Sure, you can still get your product on iTunes and Amazon, but the support mechanisms and benefits grow fewer and fewer. Indies had the double-edged sword of Netflix as non-returning-account and content-devaluer for a decade. Now Netflix has moved on and indies will need to find a new temporary autonomous zone.

  • Elizabeth Corinth | September 28, 2011 4:23 AMReply

    It's true that for-profit companies can't be expected to focus on titles with limited demand at the expense of big money-makers. That's why non-profits are an important home for that which may not be profitable, but is nevertheless worth making available. At least, that's what Facets believes - and so we're in the midst of developing a streaming option of our own to serve as a home and source for those "long tail" films which might otherwise be lost in the shuffle, just as we've done in the DVD sales and rentals arenas. (http://www.facets.org)

  • Barry R Sisson | September 28, 2011 1:11 AMReply

    An interesting discussion throughout. My advice to Netflix would be to become known as a service that has a vast selection of films. Slower moving titles should be considered as a marketing cost. This would cement a huge segment of the market as customers who pay a monthly fee (compensating for the small shelf space required. It is understandable that there is only so much server space so perhaps for now these titles would only exist on DVD, but exist they should. It seems so short sighted to move away from seeing the importance of being true film lovers. Frankly, I think that they will find a way as Reed seems to truly love movies (OK- love them as well as a high stock price.

    I think that there is a karma issue as well. Netflix's popularity played a huge role in the difficulties experienced in getting any return on an indie film in that they have provided a platform for renting that has destroyed DVD sales. No revenue source has come along to replace that DVD income. We have an essay on that decline that references various influences and the key Netflix connection -
    https://sites.google.com/a/cavalierfilms.com/fs-current-info/essay

    What we need is a well known source of reference for what is good and available. A source for good films to seek out would be a great piece of the indie puzzle and I am looking forward to checking out some of those referenced in these comments. BTW, our film, Familiar Strangers, was recently dropped from Netflix streaming . . .

  • Allen | September 27, 2011 12:01 PMReply

    Ugh. So my Netflix Independents group on Facebook, expressly created to alert people of smaller titles that Netflix has in their database and might not pick up due to poor queue demand is now a mute point? Damn.

    facebook.com/NetflixIndependents

    Well, I'll keep it going for a while longer regardless. Maybe with the new company they'll revert to their old model...

  • David | September 27, 2011 11:48 AMReply

    Yes eamonn bowles, I would confront a store that doesn't offer items beyond what's available, especially if they're offering crap. Your statement, Eamonn, fails to note that demand is artificially manufactured. In other words, it's an internal decision that has nothing at all to do with demand or the marketplace. If that were the case, Factory 25 (and the other companies listed in the above article) would easily have their films available on Netflix or Quick Fixter (or whatever their new company is called). It's frustrating to read cozy comments that constantly revert to "the market."

  • Alexander Berberich | September 27, 2011 11:31 AMReply

    My film, 'Bonne Année' has been on Netflix for over 16 months. A few months ago I contacted them to find out if there was any progress. All emails were returned. Mike Grice, who had been my contact, was no longer available. He had been most helpful when they first listed my film. I was disappointed that he was no longer there. Long story short, after about 20 emails, 2 phone calls and finally - a registered receipt requested letter, someone at Netflix finally wrote back saying that my film had still not met their 'threshold' - as the above article states, a number they are not willing to make public. I then offered to make my film available to Netflix for free. As a filmmaker, all I would like is for my work to be seen...especially by all the folks that have been kind enough to save my film to their queue. Netflix wrote back saying they were unable to accept a film for free. I replied saying that I would sell it to them for $1...that was 3 months ago - still waiting for a reply. It is sad, because I too believed Netflix would be a home for many Indie filmmakers grinding away. Too bad.

  • Mike Grice | September 27, 2011 10:47 AMReply

    Good article and nice to see my name mentioned in the trades. I do want to point out to one of the commenter - Mike. The removal of the bonus material on some recent major studio titles is due to the 28 day agreements Netflix (and Redbox) have in place.

  • vaporland | September 27, 2011 9:52 AMReply

    wow - demonoid is looking better every day... millions of titles, all free all the time.

    netflix is really sucking lately....

  • biglittlefilms | September 27, 2011 9:39 AMReply

    Platforms like the one mentioned in the article, IndiePix, represent the alternative to Netflix going "mainstream" only. Low barriers to entry and fragmentation of the market as enabled by new and more effective technology only serves to give these independent films a more viable forum than the unsupported "one-stop" shop that Netflix used to offer.

  • Damian K. Lahey | September 27, 2011 9:24 AMReply

    As the writer/co-producer on Tully's 'Cocaine Angel' I have to say I have been pleased with its distribution on Netflix and have always believed that it would be in rotation - meaning, sometimes it would be available for 'streaming' and sometimes not, just like any of the other films available on Netflix. 'Cocaine Angel' is an odd example as it also has a thriving and growing life in the specialty market of rehab/addiction films. This has exploded in the last couple years as more and more rehab clinics, half-way houses, recovery organizations, and former addicts have begun screening the film and requesting copies of it...however, NONE of this would have been possible without its availability on Netflix - so I have to be careful with how I judge their recent moves. I believe they are having a mid life crisis and the recent decision to split into two companies was panicky and odd. In regards to indies, what many in the IndieFilm world hate to address is that OUTSIDE of the IndieFilm world these films carry the stigma of too often being boring, not particularly entertaining and inaccessible. That perception among the masses is probably the biggest hurdle indies face when it comes to expanding their audience. As a distribution platform for Indie films available to the unitiated, Netflix and its selection of Independent Films is still the best way to go.

  • sellout | September 27, 2011 8:54 AMReply

    you guys should check out BIGSTAR's indie film library. pretty sweet... www.bigstar.tv

  • John W. Comerford | September 27, 2011 8:51 AMReply

    Passion should have a place at Netflix and it does from my perspective as I am a passionate producer whose latest music doc. Icons Among Us is available on streaming and DVD. The licensing deal for streaming was solid but they have not ordered more DVDs for circulation on Qwikster for a well rated film by 7,000+ viewers. If you want to see the film on DVD on Netflix (now Qwikster) you are advised that the "Availability date is unknown." So, I wish they would make the film available to the DVD audience by ordering another batch for circulation. As, to the idea of them not responding to the marketplace I believe they will and should per Eamonn's comments above. However, just as I don't expect Toyota to make all their cars hybrid, I expect them to take risks (perhaps loss leading) to advance the industry by way of supporting new approaches. And I would hope that Netflix would consider creating a label that organizes and gives access to quality indie film. They have the capability to hire or acquire a superb group of dedicated professionals who would be passionate and knowledgable. That focus and brand building could help indie producers in a good way because then we and our sub-distributors could have someone to call who is responsive to our small but important reordering needs.

  • loren cady | September 27, 2011 8:45 AMReply

    Have read with interest all of the netflix controversy. I subscribe to both DVD and streaming. I donot think the price increases are unreasonable. I will , however, leave them in a heartbeal if I can't find the indie, foreign and arthouse films that interest me.

  • MartinK | September 27, 2011 8:42 AMReply

    Definitely seemed to be the case as I've tried to discover indies over the past year.

    I was lucky to have a large distributor pick up my last movie but I still feel the indie crunch to a certain extent in terms of units and lack of streaming, etc. for my movie "Step Off"...however, Redbox has kept it in rotation longer than I expected.

    The beat goes on for indie films.

  • Dana Harris | September 27, 2011 8:04 AMReply

    Server space is not cheap: Not only do you have to account for the space occupied by the title, every title occupies X amount of energy that must be considered relative to serving other titles (that is, getting them to your screen) as swiftly as possible. It sounds nuts, but in this respect brick-and-mortar elements are more easily managed.

  • brian fantana | September 27, 2011 8:02 AMReply

    eamonn bowles is partially right but not sure audiences are to blame (sometimes when one looks in the mirror what they see it isn't a pretty sight) - the only thing one could fault netflix for is creating a brief bubble in the market for really small indie film much the way vhs did in the 80's and 90's and pay tv did as well - ultimately the audience for most of these films is pretty small but i am sure there that someday there will be a platform for indie film lovers - it doesn't exist yet, at least not in the offerings available on indiepix, fandor (unless you like b&w silent movies you've never heard of), mubi, Film DIY, compete (what's that?), nuflick (sounds like a porn site) etc -

  • abain | September 27, 2011 7:55 AMReply

    How is this statement possibly true?

    "However, there’s also an economic argument for Netflix being more selective about its streaming product: DVD shelf space is cheaper than streaming server costs."

    The fight for precious shelf space is still ongoing and more costly.

  • mike | September 27, 2011 7:42 AMReply

    Netflix is getting really greedy lately, have you noticed that a lot of DVD's now have their extras disabled with a message saying "please buy the DVD to see this"

  • Linda Nelson | September 27, 2011 7:29 AMReply

    It seems silly to practically "give" your film to Netflix as they will then "give" it away, cannibalizing your other sales possibilities. There are many other places to actually place your film that will pay you on a regular basis. Just use www.compete.com to check traffic and then place your film where you will get paid. Indie filmmakers have never had so many great options.

  • Armak | September 27, 2011 7:13 AMReply

    Hey, who remembers 10 years ago when Blockbuster had a virtual monopoly and indies were almost impossible to find and we hailed Netflix as the second coming? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Now, who's going to be the new Netflix now that Netflix is the new Blockbuster?

  • Kobi | September 27, 2011 7:09 AMReply

    FilmDIY.com!

  • Celeste North | September 27, 2011 7:03 AMReply

    New services are coming up to serve this market: http://nuflick.com

  • eamonn bowles | September 27, 2011 6:57 AMReply

    netflix isn't an arts organization. it's a for-profit multi-billion dollar company. if there is demand for a film, it most definitely will service that demand. would you get mad at a store that doesn't carry items that don't sell? get mad at audiences for settling for crap and not demanding more varied and interesting fare, but don't put down a company for reacting to what the market will bear, especially a company that has no equal when it comes to easy access to by far the widest choice of films anywhere.

  • maryanna kristine sandurson | September 27, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    Michael, don't feel bad about what you said about Netflix, it's the truth. In the last 2 years Netflix has focused its attention away from art house and independent movies. Netflix is going after the money, Hollywood formulaic movies that mainstream America loves.

  • Scilla | September 27, 2011 5:53 AMReply

    The decline of indies on Netflix is a great indicator that we absolutely need to be our own category. The raw, real, honest and true need to be viewed on a less noisy platform.

  • charley | September 27, 2011 5:10 AMReply

    I've also noticed a recent dropoff in the number of older classic films added to Netflix Streaming. What seemed at first to be a new golden age of film access is quickly becoming a new dark age of inaccessibility. Back to the black market--everything's available in Korea.

  • Greg | September 27, 2011 4:56 AMReply

    IndieFlix.com!!

  • Michael Tully | September 27, 2011 4:47 AMReply

    I hope my above quote doesn't come off as ungrateful or overly bitter, as my most recent film will be available on Netflix Instant as well as through Qwickstalicious next month. Aside from the miraculous reality that we found a home through IFC Films and now MPI Home Video, I'm not sure if it's possible to support more "indie" of a movie. So don't get me wrong. I don't think Netflix has completely abandoned independent cinema. But the game plan has definitely changed on their end, as evidenced by Carnivalesque, Factory 25, and Indiepix, and while that's perhaps understandable in a business sense, it is nevertheless quite disappointing to me as an independent film lover.

  • gee | September 27, 2011 4:01 AMReply

    indiedrugdramas.com