Algorithms Rule The Movies

Are international territory pre-sales in the independent motion picture business dead?

With sales agents getting lower and lower “takes,” it may just be the moment of the big paradigm shift.

And, producer Anthony Bregman, at the keynote speech at Berlinale, blames Netflix. Deadline quotes him as saying that ““The problem with the international sales business has always been that everyone runs the same numbers, there is no variation.” The problem is compounded because all of the companies act like they know what the numbers mean when they don’t.”


A hot movie today means that they want the same hot movie tomorrow. Except the audience doesn’t.

Netflix has the advantage because it knows what its huge audience is watching and with that data “they use a more sophisticated and better algorithm than the studios when deciding which films to green light.”

So, perhaps William Goldman’s saying that “Nobody knows anything” should be changed to say that sometimes Netflix knows some things.

They’re not always right, but their batting percentage is a little higher.

About JeffKoeppel

I am a corporate/securities attorney in the Washington, DC area. Prior to joining the firm, I was a Senior Attorney Advisor in the Division of Corporation Finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. I am a member of the Bars of the States of Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia. You can also follow this blog on LinkedIn at:
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