In a rare moment of executive candor, the head of 20th Century Fox Film delivered a verbal beating to Netflix, saying that the streaming giant offers no advantages to filmmakers or movie-lovers, and that its days as a dominant force in Hollywood are numbered.
Stacey Snider, who serves as chairwoman and CEO of Fox’s film division, didn’t mince words when speaking Thursday at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills. When asked by a moderator about the ways that streaming services are changing the industry, Snider singled out Netflix’s movie division for criticism.
“I couldn’t find, and I won’t say their names, the Netflix movies that we were supposed to be upset got made at Netflix,” she said. “Point me to an article or campaign that gets me excited.”
Netflix has been aggressively investing in its slate of original movies and recently hired Scott Stuber, formerly of Universal, to head the division.
For the people who make movies, Snider said that “there’s nothing about the experience of making them in a churn-like environment that appeals to filmmakers. This is not conjecture on my part — I speak to them.”
Netflix declined to comment.
As for the consumer experience, Snider said consumers often have difficulty finding movies they want to see. “There’s nothing better about watching a film on Netflix or Amazon. There just isn’t,” Snider said.
Her harsh words come as Netflix’s relationship with Hollywood has grown more tense. The Walt Disney Co. announced last month that it would launch its own streaming service in 2019 and pull its movies from Netflix. Disney chief Bob Iger said Thursday at the conference that Marvel and “Star Wars” movies will be among the titles to migrate to the new service.
And Fox has been fighting with Netflix in court over allegations that the Los Gatos-based streaming company unlawfully poached executives from its ranks. Netflix has claimed that Fox’s employment contracts aren’t enforceable.
Snider concluded by saying Netflix will see more competition as studios launch their own streaming services.
“I don’t see that preeminence and dominance being protectable forever,” she said.