Flanagan: Netflix ‘Hostile’ To Physical Media SuperNayr

Netflix has only dipped its toe into physical media on a few titles – namely the films they’ve allowed the Criterion Collection to release such as “Roma,” “Uncut Gems,” “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story” and “The Power of the Dog”. There’s also been a handful of shows (eg. “Wednesday,” “The Sandman”) to make the jump.

Outside of that, they’re essentially done with physical media and are all about digital streaming and subscriptions. That’s not a surprise, but few have put it more damningly than their former golden boy of genre mini-series – Mike Flanagan.

Flanagan has a long history with Netflix, having done multiple films for them like “Hush” and “Gerald’s Game,” and more famously his various mini-series like “The Haunting of Hill House,” “The Haunting of Bly Manor” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”.

Flanagan exited the streamer a while back and is developing projects with others. A few weeks ago someone asked him on his quite active Tumblr about the possibility of accessing his work without a Netflix subscription. He gave a long and thought out response on his blog with a key excerpt given at the time suddenly getting a lot of attention this weekend. That quote:

“I tried very hard to get them to release my work on Blu-Ray & DVD. Netflix refused at every turn. It became clear very fast that their only priority was subs, and that they were actively hostile to the idea of physical media.

While they had some lingering obligations on certain titles, or had partnerships who still valued physical media, and had flirted with releasing juggernaut hits like Stranger Things, that wasn’t at all their priority. In fact, they were very actively trying to eliminate those kinds of releases from their business model.

This is a very dangerous point of view. While companies like Netflix pride themselves on being disruptors, and have proven that they can affect great change in the industry, they sometimes fail to see the difference between disruption and damage.

So much that they can find themselves, intentionally or not, doing enormous harm to the very concept of film preservation. The danger comes when a title is only available on one platform, and then – for whatever reason – is removed.”

He goes on to add that the “list of titles that have been removed from streaming services is growing quickly, quietly, and insidiously”.

Netflix, of course, famously started as a disc rental company before reducing and eventually shutting down that part of the business after streaming became their main driver.

They’re hardly the only ones not issuing disc releases as various other streamers have refused to release numerous original films and series on physical media in recent years.

Flanagan is fighting for his work, and recently the rights to his well-reviewed 2016 Netflix home invasion film “Hush” came back to him. He plans a 4K disc release of it this Fall.

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