The future of working with streamers was on the table at the Zurich Summit on Saturday amid talk that the content bubble has burst as key markets such as the U.S. reach saturation point.
“We’re not slowing down by any means in any market. We’re just being a little bit more deliberate about what works for our members,” she said.
Bühler was joined on the panel by Picture Perfect Federation CEO Patrick Wachsberger; Axel Kuschevatzky, co-founder of London, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires-based production company Infinity Hill and Nick Shumaker, Head of Anonymous Content independent.
“Some territories are more saturated than others… EMEA is a growth market for us for sure. We have not slowed down at all in our investment,” she continued.
“Germany is certainly a growth market. When you look at broadband penetration… we still have a lot of room to grow.”
She noted that Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings had pledged €500 million in investment for Germany-speaking content from 2021 to 2023, at the 2021 opening of the Berlin office, covering Germany Austria and Switzerland (the so-called DACH region).
“We’ve stuck to that. We’ve done that. Our plan is to continue to invest more and more. We think there’s room for it. It’s a very healthy market.”
Wachsberger suggested that the next big markets for the streamers would be beyond Western Europe.
“I think what is happening with the U.S. SVOD platforms is that the U.S. market is arriving at a cap. The question is where is the extension for them? I don’t even think it’s Western Europe. I think where they have to go now is Africa and India. This is where the growth is,” he said.
The Oscar-winning Coda producer suggested the streamers were becoming flexible in the rights deals they were prepared to cut with producers as their models mature.
“You now see streamers buy certain windows, depending on the territories,” he said. “You have certain streamers who are willing to do a theatrical release. Apple are doing that domestically for 45 days… and then you have Amazon in recent markets, buying specific movies, for specific territories. That’s something that did not happen four years ago.”
Feeding into this comment, Bühler noted Netflix’s deal with Germany’s Constantin Film over the summer for a long-term partnership which includes the latter’s originals and co-produced films, as well as films acquired for cinema or straight-to-video release.
The big movies will be made available to Netflix subscribers 10-12 months after their theatrical release.
“We’ve probably released on average 30 films a year theatrically. It’s a matter of constantly reassessing where we stand on what the best way is to be supportive members of the creative communities locally,” she said.
Talking about the climate for Spanish-language content, Kuschevatzky agreed with the comments on greater flexibility.
“I’m always trying to have a theatrical release… I’ve seen the changes in the last year and half. Where they would say ‘no’, now there is a way to make it happen… it’s funny that after years of not having commercial breaks, or getting a release, we’re coming back to that.”
The one-day Zurich Summit is an initiative of the Zurich Film Festival, organized in cooperation with CAA Media Finance.