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VOD Views : Netflix has changed, Windows Shrink, New Releases

Well it’s been a while since the last VOD Views, and the world has certainly changed. When you last heard from us in late 2016 Netflix was still on the ascent, a new streaming service seemed to launch every other week and the VOD industry looked as robust as VHS rental had back in the late 80s.

How times change. Netflix has since made three very public cancellations, first of it’s most expensive show, Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down, then of the Wachowski sisters’ Sense8 and previously of Marco Polo. As the Hollywood Reporter asked, has the streaming giant finally reached the bottom of its previously bottomless well of money to throw around (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/bastard-machine/critics-notebook-real-cracks-netflix-facade-just-a-bad-week-1009735)?

But while the industry wondered if Netflix was finally joining the real world, others were becoming more active, like Facebook, which signed with several new partners for original content programs (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-tv-idUSKBN18K2U0).

And all this came on the heels of vocal, sometimes incendiary talks about the theatrical window (the amount of time between the theatrical and home/VOD release). First, two major US theatre chains said they’d consider shortened windows if it means they get a share of premium VOD money (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/studios-theaters-reignite-talks-17-day-theatrical-window-956781). Warner Bros, for one, is strongly on board (http://deadline.com/2017/02/warner-bros-kevin-tsujihara-aggressively-working-premium-vod-1201905155). Fox’s Stacey Snider sent shockwaves when she called current theatrical windows ‘anachronistic’ (http://www.thewrap.com/fox-film-chief-stacey-snider-says-current-theatrical-windows-anachronistic) and JJ Abrams even admitted the shortening of windows was ‘inevitable’ (http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/j-j-abrams-theatrical-window-star-wars-inevitable-1202406150).

Ironically, it took a streaming service to come out swinging in favour of the power of the big screen, with Amazon bigging up the very concept of the theatrical experience (http://deadline.com/2017/03/amazon-studios-execs-theatrical-window-cinemacon-1202056180) – although, if you want to be cynical you might suggest the ecommerce behemoth is saying that because only films that play in theatres are allowed to win Oscars, and awards attention gives any studio a big marketing push.

But almost all the studios are talking about it, planning it or preparing for it, so the days of the months-long wait between the cinema and home video seem numbered (http://variety.com/2017/film/news/studios-premium-vod-early-1202013205).

On VOD now and coming up, a shiny new version of Bambi, which is 75 this year and contains new bonus material. Also the counter-programming comic book movie for everyone that’s sick of comic book movies, Logan.

There’s a creepy looking horror thriller called 12 Feet Deep (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsNp9bx7Wqs), in which two sisters get trapped beneath the fiberglass cover of an Olympic sized public pool after it closes for a holiday weekend, and what’s been called a new take on the vampire mythology in Aaron’s Blood (https://youtu.be/zFl9bF98W20).

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