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Netflix to start commissioning documentaries

NetflixNetflix will begin ordering documentaries as part of its programming drive, the Video on Demand (VoD) service revealed yesterday during the release of its Q2 financial results.

Great news for documentary filmmakers. Netflix, which is quickly becoming one of the biggest distribution channels in the US and has had a profound effect on the state of the film industry in the UK, will start ordering original documentary content.

In a letter to investors, the organisation said: “Beyond series, we will be expanding our Originals initiative to include broadly appealing feature documentaries and stand-up comedy specials. Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres.

“We’ll continue to build on our initial success with Originals as we gain confidence in our ability to use our judgment and data to find projects that our members will enjoy.”

The news is not so positive for HBO in the US which is responsible for many of the high end documentaries we see here in the UK on the big screen and would be in direct competition with Netflix. However, from a consumer point of view competition can only be a good thing for quality.

Netflix, which is currently available in the US, Canada, Latin America, Scandinavia and the UK and Ireland, with a planned entrance later this year in the Netherlands, will continue to launch in new markets in the 2014.

The VoD channel has more than 36 million members in 40 countries who currently watch more than one billion hours of TV programmes and films per month, including original series.


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Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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