Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Update on Captioning for our Members

In mid December, we reached our captioning goal for 2011, when more than 80% of the hours streamed in the US were of content with captions or subtitles available.  Thanks to hard work from our captioning team, we made significant strides from 40% in June and 60% in September.

We continue to require captions or subtitles from our providers for all new content where it is available, and we continue to author captions or subtitles for significant new content where it is missing.  Our goal is to provide more and more content with captions; however, viewers should expect the gap on the last 20% to narrow more slowly than in 2011, since it includes a large number of titles that are rarely watched, so each hour of captioning added adds less and less to the overall metric.

We welcome the FCC rule-making on captions and subtitles, since it helps align the industry on making captions and subtitles more available from the content suppliers, which can only help us all move forward in this important area.

In the US, almost 90% of streaming viewing is done using a player that is capable of displaying captions or subtitles (some older BD players, TVs, and set-top boxes are not capable, and unfortunately their firmware cannot be upgraded). Almost all Netflix-ready devices in distribution today (including all the game consoles, phone apps, tablet apps, TVs, BD players, AppleTV, and the Roku set-top box) are capable of rendering captions. For users without caption capability, the inexpensive Roku set-top box makes a great upgrade.

A full list of captioned and English subtitled content is available here, which can also be found in the link at the bottom of each page on the website, or by entering subtitles in the search box.

Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"And The Oscar Goes To...Netflix!"

"And the Oscar goes to...Netflix!"

Last night in Hollywood, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences handed out the Oscars for the best films and best film talent of the year...and what a year it was. Many of the the night’s top prizes went to extraordinary movies that will be available to watch instantly on Netflix in the weeks and months to come.

The two biggest winners this year were "The Artist" and "Hugo." Both films celebrate the world's passion for the history of movies. "The Artist," using classic moviemaking techniques, is presented in black and white and without dialogue, while "Hugo," employs Hollywood’s latest technical artistry to present a dazzling experience in 3D to theatrical audiences.

These films have three things in common; a love for cinema, five Oscars and both will be coming to Netflix later this year.

Other big Netflix winners were Best Documentary Feature "Undefeated" and Best Animated Feature "Rango."

"The Artist" took home the top prize of Best Picture and ultimately won 5 of the 10 awards it was nominated for including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. It will make its debut on Netflix and not be available on any premium pay TV services in the U.S. Best Documentary Feature winner "Undefeated" will also makes its exclusive debut on Netflix this year.

"Rango," the Johnny Depp-voiced Best Animated Feature will be coming to Netflix on March 31.

Harvey and Bob Weinstein were also stars in a night full of them. This year marked back-to-back Best Picture Oscar wins and night that would include a total of 8 Academy Awards for their films. We couldn't be more enthusiastic to be in business with these legendary film executives.

Besides collecting awards, films premiering on Netflix also attracted big crowds at the box office this weekend. The #1 film "Act of Valor" and the #2 film "Good Deeds" will premiere on Netflix soon, rather than on a traditional Pay TV service.

Netflix is proud to be bringing its members some of the biggest and best films of the year. From big box office action flicks to “The Artist,” we have something great to watch for everyone.

--Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oscar Nominated Docs

It's awards season again! Over the years, we have been proud to offer a variety of Oscar nominated and winning movies to our members, particularly documentaries and foreign films. This year is no exception with Netflix currently streaming two of the compelling documentaries in the race to take home this year’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar. “Hell and Back Again”, a riveting documentary which captures one Marine’s battle to transition back to civilian life after serving in Afghanistan. “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” explores the radical environmental group and their tactics of “economic sabotage” in the name of the planet. - Lisa Lisa Nishimura is VP of Independent Studio Content Acquisition

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Netflix Available on PlayStation Vita at Launch

We have long been looking forward to bringing you Netflix on a Sony handheld game device and today, Netflix comes to Sony's newly-launched PS Vita. If you’re a fan of Netflix on PS3, you’ll find the experience familiar, but with a design tailored to Vita’s handheld size and the ability to navigate with buttons or touch. It’s a fun device to use, and instantly watching TV episodes and movies looks great on the Vita screen. The app is available now for free download from the PlayStation Store.
We hope you enjoy another way to watch Netflix wherever you are.

 - Brady Gunderson, Netflix product development

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Now you can sign up directly for a DVD only plan

Starting today, there is an easier way for our DVD and Blu-Ray loving audience to sign up for a DVD only plan. Starting at just $7.99 a month, you can enjoy around 100,000 titles on DVD.

We are also offering a 1 month free trial for eligible customers.

To join, simply visit , enter your details, complete your sign-up, add some movies and/or TV shows to your Queue, and then we will rush you the next disc in your Queue.

Santosh Hegde, director of DVD engineering

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Lilyhammer" Premieres Today

Hello. Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix here.

Do you love the indulgence of watching episode after episode of your favorite shows on Netflix?

Have you ever wished you could do the same with new shows when they premiere on TV?

Well, starting today, you can enjoy as many episodes as you please of the brand new Netflix Original Series "Lilyhammer," starring Steven Van Zandt.

Van Zandt has had only a few jobs in his life. One of them is playing with Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band. His other job was acting in one of the best TV shows in American history, "The Sopranos"..Not bad. Today he builds on that impressive resume, acting writing and producing "Lilyhammer" for Netflix.

In this quirky fish-out-of-water comedy, Van Zandt plays a New York mobster, who after testifying against a mob boss, is placed in witness relocation in Lilyhammer Norway. His character will be familiar to U.S., Canadian and Latin American audiences, but the setting and situations are brand new.

This show is different in many ways. First of all, this is surely the most ambitious original show to premiere online in history. The presence of an American star like Van Zandt and the production quality and the length of the episodes position "Lilyhammer" in the class of programing usually only found on premium pay television.

Van Zandt's character understands Norwegian, but doesn't speak it well, so the folks he encounters speak mostly in their native tongue with subtitles while Stevie speaks in English in the US and Canada. The episodes will be presented fully subtitled in local languages in Latin America. It is highly unusual for a single programmer to debut shows in multiple territories.

It is our hope that we can help to bridge language barriers to bring the world's content to an increasingly global audience. Cable television brought some diversity to the programming grid starting more than 30 years ago. Netflix plans to take that to the next level, using the power and reach of the global Internet. With no physical need for fragmented distribution, the possibilities for a regional TV show or movie to reach a global audience are limitless.

"Lilyhammer" is also showing on Norwegian television and is it it's third week on the air. The show is a national sensation, with 1.2 million of the nations 5 million people watching every week. It is the most watched TV show in Norwegian history.

Unlike any major TV premiere before it, we are debuting all eight episodes of the first season at the same time today. Conventional TV strategy would be to stretch out the show to keep you coming back every week. We are trying to give our members what they want; Choice and control. If you want to watch one episode a week, you can. If you want to watch the whole season this week, you can do that too.

This will be the first of many brand new, original and exclusive series to debut on Netflix. We will have more news on those shows as they get ready to premiere. Enjoy the show and tell your Friends, but no spoilers! they may not be on the same episode as you are on.

By the way, for Springsteen fans, the Boss himself came out for the New York premiere of the show and loved it. That is a pretty sweet endorsement for a new show indeed. The Boss, Stevie and the rest of the E Street band are heading out for a brand new world tour starting next month. He will be back just in time for season 2 of "Lilyhammer."