etflix is making a behavior of outspending Hollywood, whether or not it’s paying a jaw-dropping $12.5 million at Sundance a few years in the past for the World Warfare II drama Mudbound or inking a reported $one hundred million contract with Gray’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes to develop an unique slate of latest exhibits. Now it’s pushing the bounds of an Oscar marketing campaign with an estimated $30 million greatest image campaign for Roma, an artsy Spanish-language drama centered on the lifetime of a maid in Mexico Metropolis. That’s almost twice what Netflix paid to accumulate the movie within the first place and greater than double what different studios sometimes spend on Greatest Image campaigns.
“It’s probably the most aggressive marketing campaign I’ve ever witnessed for any movie—not to mention a overseas-language, black-and-white movie with no stars,” says strategist Tony Angellotti, who’s engaged on fellow Greatest Image nominee Inexperienced E-book’s Oscar marketing campaign for Common Footage.
Profitable—or simply being nominated for—Greatest Image historically has given a second wind to field workplace receipts, which in flip juices the quantity that studios can squeeze from premium pay tv and streaming offers. That is notably true of small movies. Final yr’s winner, The Form of Water, earned greater than half its field workplace after it was nominated for the Oscar, in accordance with Comscore. An enormous field workplace interprets to a windfall as soon as the films attain the small display. Roma’s fellow nominee, the Disney smash Black Panther, with $seven hundred million in U.S. ticket gross sales, might earn as a lot as $50 million in licensing charges for house viewing.
However Los Gatos, California-based mostly Netflix doesn’t care about field workplace gross sales. Positive, it launched Roma in 1,one hundred theaters worldwide, however that was to qualify for Oscar consideration, because the Academy requires movies have a theatrical launch. Nearly all of Netflix’s $15.eight billion in income final yr got here from charging its 139 million subscribers a mean of $9 a month for the streaming service.
To retain these subscribers—and appeal to new ones— Netflix must entice Hollywood A-listers to create superb content material. That’s particularly essential now, as erstwhile companions like Disney put together to launch their very own streaming providers and start to order their greatest stuff— like Captain Marvel—for their very own pipes.
“It simply bolsters their potential to go after pedigree filmmakers, to say, ‘Look, you don’t need to work for a serious studio to win a Greatest Image. You’ll be able to come work for us,” says Chris Aronson, president of home distribution for Twentieth Century Fox.
Welcome to the brand new Oscar math, the place value is measured not by field workplace receipts however by subscribers gained or misplaced, based mostly on future dwelling-room blockbusters. Netflix’s Academy Award push is a small element of the streaming service’s $2.four billion advertising blitzkrieg, aimed toward constructing consciousness of its unique content material. Its document spending has been rewarded with a achieve of almost 29 million subscribers up to now yr.
Forward of its Roma marketing campaign, the streaming service went all in, shopping for the advertising agency whose president and CEO, Lisa Taback, orchestrated profitable awards campaigns for the Harvey Weinstein movies Shakespeare In Love and The King’s Speech. Then it reportedly spent tens of tens of millions to purchase billboards on Hollywood’s iconic Sundown Strip.
It cozied as much as the Hollywood press. “They despatched most Oscar watchers a two-inch-thick ebook that may break your toes,” says Tom O’Neil, editor and founding father of the awards prediction website GoldDerby. They gave out black and yellow Roma pillows. “They blitzed Hollywood media.”
Profitable a Greatest Image nomination “is all expertise relations,” says Tom Nunan, lecturer on the UCLA Faculty of Theater, Movie and Tv and government producer of Oscar-profitable Crash. “Any debate among the many fancy class of filmmakers and actors as as to if or not Netflix is the actual deal is over.”
Netflix has already proved its greenback-heavy math works on the subject of TV exhibits. It gained Golden Globes for The Crown in 2017 and in January, The Kominsky Technique, whose business accolades spiked demand for that Netflix unique collection, in line with an evaluation by knowledge agency Parrot Analytics. TV stays extra fashionable on the service: 86% of all streams are for TV titles, in contrast with 14% for films, in line with New York-based mostly analytics agency 7Park Knowledge. However because the Oscar marketing campaign suggests, Netflix is devoting growing assets to movie, corresponding to by recruiting Martin Scorsese to convey his story of the hitman who confessed to killing Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa to the service.
The stakes for Netflix are excessive: Different deep-pocketed streaming rivals have already picked off prime film expertise, greased by wealthy contracts and their very own awards scores. Amazon Prime Video turned the primary streaming service to have a movie nominated for Greatest Image in 2017 with Manchester by the Sea, though it didn’t win. This yr Hulu scored its first Oscar nomination, for documentary Minding the Hole, because it widens its focus from TV to movie.
Settle in and seize some popcorn. The period of awards-season binge-spending is simply getting began.