MARCH 31, 2020

With a world in flux and businesses and people’s lives being disrupted by “Stay at Home” declarations due to the COVID-19 virus, the future means continuing to work from home remotely. This has created a new type of “water cooler” to sit around and ingest the news of the day. The television has again become the center piece of our content information input. Thankfully due to the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Studios, and Disney +, television is not only providing us all of the news and information of the day we need but it is also providing new viewers the chance to explore content from documentaries on the Tiger King, to the latest cinema releases being offered on these streaming platforms. Over the last two years, the rise in these streaming services has led to many of the most creative projects now being made for the small screen rather than the movie theater.

Let's look at the big winner of this year’s Academy Awards, Parasite. Most viewers watched Parasite. on Amazon Studios versus the theater. Now it is being brought to Netflix on April 8th, where it will be viewed online by even more viewers. If we have learned anything over the last month with streaming content it is that it might as well be deemed “essential”. We have learned too that viewers want to continue watching characters and plot’s they enjoy, which has freed creators from the bounds of a traditional two-hour movie and how that movie is presented. Streaming shows are now combining multiple genres (comic book styling, animated story transitions, characters singing) with the movie broken into multiple episodes of varying length. Shows have turned into an 8 to 10-hour movie that can be watched almost continuously as one show.

With entire seasons being released on the same day, binge-watching has already become the norm. Now streaming is a way to relieve stress and escape the reality of the daily news. And all this change has happened in the space of a few weeks. Subscriptions are up and the global internet could feel the impact. Netflix was already responsible for using 15% of the total internet traffic on a daily basis. Combined with the new services from Disney +, to Amazon Studios and HULU and others, this grows to over 25% of the total traffic. In the last two weeks this volume had spiked due to so many people working from home, that the bandwidth had to be throttled or pulled back to maintain a decent quality of service.

All this original programming costs money – lots of it. Netflix’s content budget in 2019 for the costs to buy, produce and license content was $15 billion — up from $12 billion in 2018. Netflix like Apple, Disney + and Amazon, continues to spend large sums on content to keep their viewer subscriptions increasing and to the talk around the virtual water cooler online. Per Variety Magazine this past January, it was listed that Netflix will invest around $17.3 billion this year in content on a cash basis, according to a new forecast by Wall Street firm BMO Capital Markets and Netflix is not expected to ease up anytime soon. Its content spending will top $26 billion by 2028, per BMO’s report.

What does this mean for production? Well, currently all productions are on hiatus due to the COVID-19 crisis, but once the world comes back to normal, the demand for fresh content will only increase. First of all, there will be more of it, shooting in locations dispersed all over the world. Secondly, companies like Netflix have upped the technical requirements by mandating 4K acquisition, which means four times the data required for HD production. Camera manufacturers like ARRI have met this challenge with the introduction of the ALEXA Large Format camera series and the new ALEXA Mini LF. And all this image data is accompanied by more and more metadata.

Managing all this data is a challenge but also an opportunity. CODEX introduced High Density Encoding (HDE) in response, allowing productions to capture all of the camera data but store it at 50-60% of the original size with no loss in image quality. Despite the increase in data generated at the shoot, the production team and the studio still want to see dailies as soon as possible. Companies like PIX, part of the X2X Media Group, provide secure video collaboration systems for collaborative workflows, so that an executive in Los Angeles can be at their desk and see what was shot that day wherever in the world the production is located. PIX viewers can stream this secure content on their iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or desktop set-up.

Production editorial teams don’t have to spend much time preparing executive dailies – they can focus on the creative tasks rather than the more mundane. It’s very easy with PIX to distribute reels or screeners to the production crew, other content collaborators, and the marketing department as their work progresses. This streamlining of secure content can even begin in pre-production. VFX teams, for example, can share real-time previz materials to the Director for review and then deliver the higher resolution files as their work progresses.

Content collaboration systems such as PIX streamline production and post-production workflows and make it possible for Netflix, Amazon Studios, Disney +, and all of the other streaming services to rapidly ramp up their production slates when production resumes. In the meantime, sit back around the television and be inspired by the amazing content available on these platforms. Hopefully more incredible stories will be inspired and written and the cycle of production and content delivery on these streaming platforms will get back on track with the help of PIX and CODEX.

Learn how PIX and CODEX can help your next project. Call us on +1 (415) 357-9720 or email to set up a demo and learn more!



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