I’ve been thinking about how content creation is changing and what the future of animation will look like. I read this article recently by Matthew Ball about Netflix’s strategy, “The company doesn’t want to be a leader in video, or even the leader in video – it wants to monopolize the consumption of video; to become TV.” And as Eric Calderon puts it, “Netflix wants everyone’s favourite show on Netflix.” They mean everyone around the world despite the genre or demographics their favourite show will be on Netflix. This is potentially great for creators because you have a better chance of reaching your audience on a platform like Netflix.
But sadly it’s not easy. As Eric explains in his video about what Netflix wants for animation pitches, “Every project mentioned had some incredibly large, and or reliable aspect, to it that made it a compelling choice for them to buy. In industry terms this is often called the package” – the necessary profile, team, or tie-in that helps Netflix figure out if it’ll be a success. Essentially, Netflix is a great place to go if you’re an established creator with a great pitch. Remember, Netflix first broke into original programming by buying House of Cards produced by David Fincher with Kevin Spacey as the lead.
I don’t doubt that Netflix will try to monopolize streaming video content. There are other big players that coming directly for Netflix. Amazon and Google (Youtube) already are leveraging content strategies. While Disney and Apple are in the wings developing their own streaming services.
This doesn’t include the possibilities of indies. The barrier to entry is coming down. Right now with Vimeo it is possible to set up your own Over The Top streaming channel, with an app and everything. If you build the audience, and with a bit of smart marketing I think this is a valid option.
I can’t help myself but feel optimistic. Big companies are pouring money into content. Trying to make the most enticing offers and the most creative freedom, to court the best talent. On the other end, if you want to go it alone, the tools are out there. As creators we have a good position. Whether it’s working on these shows or creating content, there are so many options. The big thing about the future of animation is that it’s not set in stone. There is still room to figure this out, and to cut your own path.