For Netflix and its rivals, most Christmas movies are too good and too old.By
Although it is a relatively wonderful life for TV cable cutters, George Bailey, Clark Griswold and Willfrey Elf still They are available only on PPV this month. The festive streamers will have to settle for Santa Paws 2 that still has to break through in the Christmas canon.
Most classic Christmas movies remain cordoned off as unique rentals or purchases on digital platforms. It's a strategy apparently similar to Grinch, and yes, that movie is also available only in pay-per-view format.
Of the 25 best Christmas movies rated by American Movie Classics, only five are available for streaming on Amazon.com, Hulu or Netflix this season. Bad Santa is an exception, along with a pair of old Bing Crosby vehicles, Holiday Inn and White Christmas . It turns out that the best Christmas movies in Hollywood are both too old and too good to transmit commercial models.
Old movies have little appeal for Netflix Inc. buyers and their rivals because they have little influence for someone to sign up, or stay enrolled. That's one of the reasons Netflix rushes to have an account. original original content for half of its catalog in 2020.
"The fun of something new is that people get excited enough to join," Netflix Content Director Ted Sarandos said at a meeting on December 4 with the investors. "That's why we're constantly reinforcing the emotion of that." In other words, the possibility of seeing A Christmas Story for the twelfth time is not as appealing as a new Jerry standing special. Seinfeld or the second season of Stranger Things .
Old programs and movies, including favorite Christmas movies, fall into a category that Sarandos calls "massive visualization." "We have them and people enjoy them, and that's fine, but … we do not put a lot of marketing behind that, because people do not really value us that much," he said.
The best Hollywood rate for holidays is cheap or simple to obtain. Broadcasters use Christmas in the same way that sports leagues use championship games, an opportunity to create a sense of urgency in a crowd accustomed to watching what they want whenever they want. The Scrooged by Bill Murray as the Super Bowl simply does not have the same impact two weeks after the big event. Even if a company agrees to buy a holiday movie, obtaining the rights requires negotiating with multiple distributors around the world, which may have contradictory schedules. The economy in the whole process is "very bad," Sarandos said.
"The category & # 39; not available & # 39; this year is an interesting list," said Chris Thun, who follows the listings as vice president of product at Tivo Corp. "The people who are managing this content probably believe that they can extract more value to convey the rights. "
In fact, It's a wonderful life is scheduled to play on NBC on Christmas Eve this year, just as TBS starts a 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story . Walt Disney Co. will show Elf 14 times before Christmas on Freeform, a cable channel aimed at young viewers. The channel is giving a treatment similar to the exploits of Clark Griswold in National Lampoon & # 39; s Christmas Vacation .
The shortage of classic films to broadcast is not limited to holidays. The most acclaimed work by Hollywood critics does not appear frequently on monthly payment platforms. Of the 25 best American films ever made, only six are available to subscribers of the Prime service of Amazon.com Inc., Hulu or Netflix. Of the most recent 25 winners of Best Film at the Academy Awards, only seven are available on the same broadcast platforms.
There is little correlation between critical praise and the success of the broadcast, according to Rich Greenfield, an analyst at financial services company BTIG LLC. In summary: Citizen Kane can not pay his way. "There is a great chasm between what is seen as the best films culturally and what is seen most," he said. "It's like two different equations."
That's why it's often so hard to find something to watch on digital TV; There is an abundance of good choices, but very little, that's great. The studios are reluctant to forego the steady and reliable stream of video-on-demand revenue that comes from a film enshrined in the canon of popular culture. For a company like Viacom of National Amusement Inc., is a wonderful life is similar to a first class action that generates a significant dividend at the end of each year.
Instead of buying critically acclaimed dramas from others, broadcast companies are trying to make them. Netflix will spend up to $ 8 billion next year funding 60 original series and 80 original movies, including at least two animated features.
Christmas is on the original Netflix wish list. According to reports, the company chose Kurt Russell as Santa Claus for an original film next year and bought the rights to Jingle Jangle a musical about a toy manufacturer that tries to perfect a wonderful invention to time for the holidays.
This year, however, if one insists on not paying more for holiday television, start with the seminal Santa Paws. The sequel is not so good.