How To Sell A Movie To Netflix Like A Boss

If you’re like most film producers, you’re likely trying to figure out how to sell a movie to Netflix. And this is for a good reason.

With over 30 million subscribers, getting your film into the platform would represent exposure and validation. As a result, it’s common to hear about otherwise pragmatic filmmakers ending up with a significant case of Netflix FOMO.

Here’s what we will cover in this article:

  1. Your Netflix Pitch
  2. Movie Selling Points
  3. Distributor or Sales Agent
  4. Typical Netflix Deal
  5. Alternatives to Netflix Distribution

“I want to sell my movie to Netflix! And if I can’t sell a movie to Netflix, I would be happy to put my movie on Netflix for free. I want people to see it.”

Getting your film on Netflix is enticing. But accepting a deal that doesn’t pay the bills or pay back your investors is silly. Plus, there is much more to a film release strategy than SVOD. So if getting your movie on Netflix is your only desire, you may want to stop what you’re doing and create a marketing plan.

sell movie to netflix

Your Netflix Pitch

There are two conventional ways to attract Netflix. You can cross your fingers and hope your film gets accepted to significant festivals, builds lots of buzz, and garners the attention of someone from Netflix. This rairly happens.

The most common way to get your movie onto Netflix is to work with a distributor or a sales agent with the relationships and reputation for making favorable deals with Netflix.

The challenge is this. Any good distributor or sales agent hears pitches many times a day. As a result, you’ll need to find creative ways to make your film rise above the noise and get noticed. For example, maybe you have a popular social media account, a robust list of email subscribers, or a super engaging trailer on YouTube.

Movie Selling Points

If you can show how your film has been received online, the buzz it has created, and how it has engaged with its target audience, you’ll make your movie more of a no-brainer for aquisitions. Here are some questions to help get you thinking:

  1. Do you have any “names” or “influencers” in your film?
  2. Does your film focus on a popular subject?
  3. Does your film have a solid social media following or press?

If there are other movies similar to yours on the Netflix platform, you’ll need to figure out a way to your movie unique from the competition. How does your movie fill a gap in the Netflix library? And going a little broader, how will your movie help Netflix retain current subscribers or attract new subsscribers?

Distributor Or Sales Agent

Once you have a well-rehearsed pitch showcasing your film’s value, your next step is to reach out to the distributor or sales agent and make the pitch. Assuming the distributor or sales agent has an ongoing relationship with buyers from Netflix and other platforms, they will know pretty quickly if they think they can sell your movie.

(And depending on your negotiation, you might even get a minimum guarantee.)

  1. Know your goals for distribution and figure out which deal points are negotiable and which ones are not.
  2. Before you make a deal, understand all the costs. The distributor will charge for marketing, deliverables, and other services required to release your movie.
  3. Make sure the distributor or sales agent has a reputation for tranparency, open communication, and frequent updates.

If your film gets pitched to Netflix, it will take a few weeks to get a response. If the folks at Netflix are interested, they will negotiate directly with your distributor or sales agent. Most deals typically pay a licensing fee for one or two years.

Typical Netflix Deal

Netflix generally seeks exclusive deals. They usually want to be the only SVOD platform where viewers can stream your film during the licensing period. Asuming you’re working with a good distributor, understanding this can help you set set realistic expectations, and also determine if the deal is worthwhile.

If Netflix licenses worldwide rights, you will need to provide the necessary video files and artwork. Your distributor will likely sugest an approved encoding house to handle the technical aspects, from meeting the platform’s stringent specifications to dealing with closed captions, metadata, and quality control. Money to cover movie delviery is usually taken directly from your licensing fee.

If you sell a film to Netflix and they pass, you usually won’t get much feedback. Do not take this personally. Perhaps Netflix picked up a similar film last week. Or maybe the acquisition team is focused on other genres. Or perhaps it’s raining in Hollywood?

Alternatives To Netflix Distribution

While Netflix is a significant player, it’s essential to consider a multi-platform strategy to maximize your film’s reach and potential for success. Platforms like Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Showtime, and Stars all have their own unique audiences and could be a great fit for your film.

A good film distributor will collaborate with you to maximize the film’s success. The distributor will work to get your movie’s best placement in each outlet. They will also work to negotiate the most significant dollar amounts for your film.

In the end, selling a movie to Netflix or other platforms requires strategic thinking, a deep understanding of the market, and persistence. With each step of the process, you learn, improve, meet new people, and continually level up your filmmaking.

If you’re eager to deepen your understanding of distribution and effectively navigate this landscape, don’t miss out on downloading our comprehensive film distribution guide.

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ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

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