After railing against Netflix for endangering the film industry Spielberg lines up with Apple TV+ another on line streaming service.
By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor
Steven Spielberg, famed director and producer who called for a block of Netflix films at the Academy Awards, has partnered with Apple TV+.
As one of the founders of modern cinema, he is on the board of directors for the Academy Awards and the owner of several massive production companies. Spielberg railed against Netflix’ inclusion in the Oscars on Twitter, claiming that the platforms movie release practices are detrimental to the film industry.
Last month he helped launch the new Apple TV+, a streaming service Apple hopes can compete with the established giants like Netflix and Amazon. It announced its intention to have shows backed and produced by Apple come to the small screen in DATE. Giants like Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey have signed on, with Spielberg producing “Amazing Stories,” a series, for Apple. Criticisms for his association with Apple TV+ were flooding Twitter, calling him a hypocrite.
“Steven Spielberg, who has openly argued that movies that are just on a TV aren’t real movies and shouldn’t be considered the same kind of art,” tweeted Imran Khan senior editor of GameInformer, “is being paid to tell you why Apple TV+ is good.”
Spielberg asserts that Netflix should be excluded from the awards because they release films in theatres in limited runs concurrent with the streaming service, which can harm the theatres ability to compete. His announced productions with Apple thus far are designed for television and not movies. Netflix still disputed Spielberg’s claims on Twitter, albeit indirectly.
“We love cinema. Here are some things we also love: -Access for people who can’t always afford, or live in towns without, theaters -Letting everyone, everywhere enjoy releases at the same time - Giving filmmakers more ways to share art,” wrote Netflix.
Other directors have also criticized the media giant for its practices. Christopher Nolan praised the efforts of other streaming services that release films they produce in a way that is beneficial to the industry. Nolan, who released “Dunkirk” in 2017, commented about Netflix an interview with IndieWire.
“They [Netflix] have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation,” said Nolan. “So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.”
As America deals with a shift in how it consumes media, the entertainment industry has consistently struggled to keep up. Music was one of the first to buck the trend of online media consumption and met with disastrous results in the 90s as consumers pirated music, while Napster established itself as the go to place for online music. Streaming music is now a standard part of the music industry, but television and movies continue to wrestle with a changing landscape.
For many, however, alternative methods of getting their work seen were not readily available until the rise of streaming media. “Broad City” and “Awkward,” two popular shows, were picked up because they were bringing in viewers and revenue from YouTube. Ava DuVernay encouraged the Board of Governors to consider the effect on viewers and creatives.
“This is a Board of Governors meeting. And regular branch members can’t be there,” DuVernay tweeted to the Academy. “But I hope if this is true, that you’ll have filmmakers in the room or read statements from directors like me who feel differently.”
Netflix was not the first nail in the coffin for theatres. DVDs and home video started the downward spiral for theatres back in the 80s and 90s. As home media has gotten better and cheaper, it became harder to entice viewers out of the living room.
A decline of movie ticket sales has been the plague of the film industry, and television is faring no better. Streaming services have been on a steady rise, however. In the last few years Netflix has gone from a DVD mail service to a full-blown production company that can get names like Will Smith, Liam Nielson, Matt Damon for their films.