TIME Algorithms

In Silicon Valley, Coders Are Making More Room for Curators

Entertainer Aubrey Drake Graham known as Drake speaks during the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 8, 2015. Apple Inc., the maker of iPhones and iPads, will introduce software improvements for its computer and mobile devices as well as reveal new updates, including the introduction of a revamped streaming music service. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Drake
David Paul Morris—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP Entertainer Aubrey Drake Graham known as Drake speaks during the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 8, 2015.

Facebook, Apple, Netflix and others are relying on human expertise to complement automated algorithms

It’s been almost a decade since the debut of the Netflix Prize, a $1 million bounty for the person or group that could best improve the company’s movie suggestion algorithm. Netflix’s much-touted recommendation engine was, at the time, one of the driving forces of its success as a DVD-by-mail service. The idea that a computer could churn through thousands of movie cast, plots and genre and pluck out the one or two that a particular viewer might enjoy was novel and exciting. The highly publicized prize proved to be great marketing for the company.

Fast forward nine years and the phrase on the tip of Netflix executives’ tongues isn’t “smart algorithms”—it’s “original programming.” Sure, Netflix still uses software to recommend titles available on its streaming platform, but the company says what’s really driving new subscriptions are the dozen or so original it has bankrolled over the last two years, including flagship series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. As The New Yorker’s Tim Wu points out, today Netflix’s most valuable “algorithm” might be chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who’s in charge of picking which programs the company funds.

This is just one example of human expertise and insight complimenting automated, data-driven experiences in Silicon Valley. But it represents a broader sea-change in thinking about what humans can do computers simply can’t.

Since the very first Google query in 1998, Internet denizens have been taught that ever-more-intelligent algorithms would one day be able to serve them recommendations that, if not altogether perfect, were at least much better than anything a lowly human could ever muster. Each of us was supposed to have our own personalized, pristine digital experience calculated with such exaction by computers that you’d feel uncomfortable even questioning the algorithm’s authority.

MORE: 5 Reasons to Buy a PlayStation 4 Right Now

But tech companies seem to be jutting up against the limits of what an algorithm can achieve, at least affordably. (The algorithm that won the Netflix prize was never actually implemented because it was prohibitively expensive). Now, the coders are having to make more room for the curators and the creatives across a variety of sectors.

Last month, Apple launched Apple Music, an on-demand streaming service similar to Spotify. Human curators are a core selling point. Music experts hand-select songs for oddly specific but weirdly compelling playlists to serve to users based on their favorite artists and genres. Meanwhile an Internet radio station called Beats 1 has become the centerpiece of the service, featuring live DJs, interviews with artists and songs far afield of the Billboard charts. The old-school format’s launch was followed as closely by the tech press as the inaugural fireside chat.

Even in areas where it seemed as though algorithms had decidedly won out, human input is gaining greater importance. Facebook’s News Feed is controlled by a closely guarded algorithm that sorts through the thousands of posts available to a given user each day and shows only the ones that it thinks will be most interesting to each individual person. For the last year, though, the company has been paying hundreds of people around the country to grade the News Feed’s quality and offer suggestions for improvements. Insight from these everyday users has led to algorithm improvements that a computer program seeking to boost engagement metrics could never discern, such as the need to show sad or serious posts prominently even though they may not garner a lot of “Likes.”

MORE: YouTube Is About to Look Very Different

The approach seems to be paying off. Facebook’s number of users and the average time spent on-site has continued to climb as it has made its algorithm more human. The human elements of Apple Music, such as Beats 1, have received high praise even as people have griped about the service’s confusing interface and rocky stability. Even newcomer Snapchat has gotten in on curation. It’s hard to imagine an algorithm replicating the mini-narratives that emerge in Snapchat’s “Live Stories,” the 24-hour local pastiches the burgeoning social network curates from snaps from its 100 million users. These stories now attract 20 million viewers a day, and the format has been so successful that Twitter is planning to imitate it this fall with Project Lightning, an upcoming feature that will show a human-curated feed of interesting tweets, photos and videos tied to major events.

Algorithms are here to stay, of course. They have the ability to analyze millions of pieces of data faster than a team of humans ever could. The emergence of Big Data—the vast trove of data generated by people and devices—is only likely to make them more crucial. But in the future, recommendation systems that meld human and algorithmic input may be more commonplace. Apple Music analyzes a user’s past listening activity to decide which human-curated playlists to present, for instance. Netflix uses its massive trove of data about people’s viewing habits to determine what types of shows to bankroll (though, Sarandos and other executives give the final green light).

We increasingly rely on computers to guide us in the right direction, but we may still need a living, breathing human to be that final arbiter of taste.

MONEY cord cutting

7 Streaming TV Packages That Will Let You Cut the Cord For Good

illustration of people on sofa watching sports on TV
Ben Mounsey

Cutting the cord could save you $75 per month. Here's how to do it without missing your favorite shows.

With services like Showtime, HBO, Hulu, and many others now streaming their programming online, cord cutting has firmly entered the mainstream. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get all your favorite shows over the internet. In order to make the transition away from cable as simple as possible, we’ve put together six streaming “packages” that should meet the needs of the most common types of TV viewers.

Along with each package, we’ve also included the amount of money the typical television viewer would save by cutting cable and switching to streaming. Greg Ireland, research director for multiscreen video at market-analysis firm IDC, estimates that the average cable subscriber pays $85 a month for video while receiving an effective $10 per month discount on internet service. That means for people with a “double play” bundle—cable TV and Internet in the same bill—canceling cable would save an average of $75 a month, or $900 per year.

So what are you waiting for? Here are six packages to help you make the switch.



THE PLAN: Hulu, CBS All Access, Sling TV

This option is for you if you like to follow the latest network and non-premium cable shows, like NCIS, The Walking Dead, and Modern Family. Hulu and CBS All Access will give you the networks, and Sling TV will bring in the most popular cable content.

That said, if you’re not going to watch at least eight different shows a year on cable channels, it’s cheapest to get your cable fix by buying individual seasons on iTunes or Amazon Instant Video.

PRICE: $408 a year ($34 per month)




For viewers who just have to keep up with current events and watch breaking news when it happens, a combination of Sling TV and a TV antenna should have you covered. Sling has CNN and Bloomberg TV, and for $5 extra a month you can get international news channels such as Euronews, France24, and News18 India. Add an indoor TV antenna, and you’ve got network and local news as well.

PRICE: $240 a year ($20 per month)



THE PLAN: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Showtime

First, the most buzzed-about TV moved from networks to premium cable and then to basic cable. Now a similar transition is moving top programming from cable to the streaming world. Netflix has House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, while Amazon isn’t too far behind with crime drama Bosch and the Golden Globe–winning Transparent. Close the loop with HBO and Showtime subscriptions—for your Game of Thrones and Homeland fixes—and you’ve got access to some of the best TV content around.

PRICE: $519 a year ($43 per month)



THE PLAN: HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, Sling TV

This is the option for TV fanatics who want everything and the kitchen sink. That means network TV, cable shows, streaming shows, HBO, movies, all on demand whenever you want.

Believe it or not, you can still have all this for less than the price of cable. Even after subscribing to HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, CBS All Access, and Sling TV, you’ll still be more than $200 ahead. Don’t care for Girls or Game of Thrones? You can replace the HBO option and subscribe to Showtime through Hulu and save another $72. Or you can drop Sling TV for Showtime and save an extra $108.

PRICE: $695 a year ($132 per month)



THE PLAN: Sling TV with sports package, two sports-league services

If you want to see a significant number of local games, stop here. This is one area where streaming services can’t fully deliver. Local games are generally exclusive to regional sports networks.

There’s also the issue of some online services being a little more unstable than diehard fans might like. Dish’s Sling TV failed for many customers during this year’s NCAA Final Four, forcing the company to issue an apology.

Sling TV will give you ESPN and ESPN 2, and for another $5 you can get even more sports options, including ESPN U, ESPNews, and the SEC Network. Add an indoor TV antenna, and you’ll also have access to network sports broadcasts.

For supporters of teams outside your local area, some sport-specific streaming options might also be attractive. Each major sports league offers some sort of online viewing option for around $130 a year, with the caveat that local games are blacked out. (NFL fans can pay $70 to watch any team they like, but they can only tune in to an on-demand rebroadcast once the game is over.)

PRICE: $560 a year ($47 per month)



THE PLAN: 12 seasons of shows

If you have unpredictable tastes but focus on only one show at a time, it might make the most sense to buy your television à la carte. For the amount you’d save by switching from cable to just Internet service (about $900 a year), you can pick up 30 seasons of TV for $30 each. Assuming these are all 45-minute shows with 22 episodes, that’s almost 500 hours of content. If you can’t imagine yourself ever watching more than that, then this plan is for you. (Don’t forget to grab a TV antenna for major live events like the Oscars and the Super Bowl, or if you just want the option of kicking back and watching primetime now and then.)

PRICE: $360 a year ($30 per month)



THE PLAN: Netflix, HBO Now, 52 movie rentals

If your favorite part of cable is watching movies, cutting the cord might just maximize your bliss. Much like cable on-demand services, you can rent many of the latest releases on iTunes or Amazon for about $5 apiece. HBO also carries a wide selection of recent movies, and Netflix has a large back catalogue of films (though titles will appear and disappear somewhat randomly).

PRICE: $548 a year ($46 per month)

Read next: The Cord-Cutter’s Guide to Streaming TV Services


Hulu Might Be Introducing An Ad-free Option

2015 Hulu Upfront Presentation
Craig Barritt—2015 Getty Images Jerry Seinfeld speaks onstage at the 2015 Hulu Upfront Presentation at Hammerstein Ballroom on April 29, 2015 in New York City.

You'll be able to binge on Seinfeld, uninterrupted.

Hulu users who hate watching ads, you may be in luck. The streaming service may soon unveil a version that gets rid of advertisements. The catch: It’s for a price.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the new feature may be planned for as early as this fall, with it costing anywhere from $12 to $14 per month. The move comes as Hulu is attempting to become more competitive with Netflix, which currently enjoys the lion’s share of the television streaming market.

The option apparently has a codename of its own, “NOAH,” which stands for “No Ads Hulu, according to the publication, citing people familiar with the matter.

The number of Hulu subscribers pales in comparison to Netflix. The service, which is owned in part by Disney, 21st Century Fox, and Comcast, said it has about 9 million subscribers to Netflix’s 65 million. Meanwhile, Hulu may generate anywhere from $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion in revenue in 2015. Last year, Netflix garnered $5.5 billion, according to the newspaper.

Hulu did, however, make waves earlier this year when it announced it would start streaming all Seinfeld episodes.

TIME movies

Watch Tig Notaro Talk About Going Viral in a New Clip From Her Netflix Documentary

The stand-up comedian talks about her famous cancer set

When Tig Notaro stepped onstage at Largo, a Los Angeles comedy club, in 2012, she had no idea she was about to launch her career to new heights. She was more focused on the fact that she had just gone through hospitalization for a terrible infection, her mother had died and she was just diagnosed with breast cancer.

But tragedy sometimes makes the best fodder for comedy, and Notaro was so open with her audience and funny about her experience, the set became an instant legend (despite the fact that it hadn’t even been videotaped). Louis C.K. was a strong voice in support of Tig after the show, helping her to release an album of the recording. In this clip from the new Netflix documentary Tig she explains how it felt to watch reactions to her set roll in.

The documentary uses the Largo set as a starting point to focus more on Notaro’s personal life, following her as she comes to realizations about what she wants out of life after her brush with death. The comedian decides she wants to try to become a mother (a process that has its own medical challenges) and meets someone who she hopes to make a serious romantic partner. The documentary debuts on Netflix on Friday, July 17.

TIME technology

Why Netflix Is Backing This Huge Cable Merger

Francois Guillot—AFP/Getty Images Netflix Co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings poses during a photocall for the launch of Netflix in France on September 15, 2014 in Paris.

It's totally okay with Time Warner Cable and Charter tying the knot

A proposed $55 billion merger between cable companies Charter and Time Warner Cable has a perhaps surprising ally: Netflix.

Netflix was a vocal opponent of last year’s proposed merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast. But the streaming movie company on Wednesday pledged its support for the potential hook-up between Time Warner Cable and Charter through an FCC filing. Netflix’s bonhomie towards the new deal revolves around an issue Netflix has been crowing about for months: Interconnection, or a physical link between a network belonging to a carrier (like Charter or TWC) and that of a content provider (like Netflix).

Put simply, such interconnection agreements can help ensure bandwidth-intensive services like online video can be smoothly delivered to users’ devices without the horror of buffering. But they’ve become a matter of contention. Last year, Comcast got into a public spat with Netflix after it made the unprecedented demand that Netflix pay up for interconnection. Comcast argued it was only right for Netflix to shell out for the high degree of bandwidth it uses; Netflix countered such an arrangement would violate rules against unequal treatment of Internet traffic and shift more costs to consumers. Netflix eventually capitulated, later agreeing to similar paid interconnection deals with Verizon and TWC.

As part of its campaign to get its merger with TWC approved, Charter has agreed to make interconnection agreements with companies like Netflix for free — at least until the end of 2018. The collapse of the Comcast-TWC deal, which was not expected to pass muster with the FCC, likely got Charter to offer Netflix these generous terms in hopes of getting its deal approved.

In its quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix praised Charter’s decision to not charge for interconnection. “This move ensures that all online video providers can aggressively compete for consumers’ favor, without selective and increasing fees paid to [Internet Service Providers],” the company wrote. “Charter’s interconnection policy is the right way to scale the Internet. It means consumer will receive the fast connection speeds they expect.”

In a conference call with investors Wednesday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he hoped the government would impose a similar mandate on AT&T and DirecTV to approve their proposed merger. So far, Hastings’ strategy has been effective. “It frees us up from worrying about getting taxed by an ISP,” he said about Charter’s free interconnection. “Instead, we get to worry about how do we make our experience better for consumers.”

TIME Earnings

Netflix Hits 65 Million Subscribers in Strong 2nd Quarter

Netflix is still racking up subscribe numbers at an impressive pace, but its profit is not what it once was

Netflix’s overseas push helped make for a blockbuster second quarter as the streaming movie service added 2.5 million new subscribers.

The company said Wednesday that it had more than 65 million subscribers, in total. Of those, 42 million are in the U.S. and another 23 million were international. Netflix predicted it would have 69 million subscribers by the end of the third quarter.

The strong results helped lift Netflix’s shares more than 10% in after-hours trading to around $107. The earnings came a day after Netflix went ahead with a 7-1 stock split that may tempt more average investors to take a position by reducing the share prices from above $700 to closer to $100.

The company reported a 6 cent per share profit (based on the post-split share price). This would be equivalent to 42 cents prior to the split, which beat the 28 cents analysts predicted. But the amount fell well short of the 16 cents EPS (post-split) the company posted in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue for Q2 was $1.481 billion which compares to $1.223 billion last year.

Netflix, which has a more volatile stock than many companies, has seen its share price tumble after every one of its second quarter earnings reports in the last six years – even though most of those reports likewise beat expectations.

Prior to the earnings release Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn’s groused about Netflix’s original programming efforts, saying the popular House of Cards “appeared to be scripted to compete with Ambien.”

Netflix executives, including CEO Reed Hastings, discussed the numbers via a live YouTube conference on Wednesday afternoon. Hastings credited a strong launch in Australia and the popularity of Netflix’s Spanish language content with subscribers as some of the reason’s for the successful quarters.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Television

Watch the First Trailer for Netflix’s Drug-Cartel Drama Narcos

The show chronicles the story of famed drug kingpin Pablo Escobar

Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal is back on television, and his mustache is better than ever.

Netflix has released the first full trailer for Narcos, an upcoming 10-episode drama about famed drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Based on the true story of real-life DEA agents Javier Peña (Pascal) and Steve Murphy (Boyd Holbrook), Narcos follows the agents as they chase down Escobar (Wagner Moura) during the height of his 1980s Medellín cartel.

“We had no idea what we were in for,” Murphy says.

Directed by Jose Padilha (Elite Squad), the historical drama also stars newcomer Stephanie Sigman, soon to be seen as the newest Bond girl in the upcoming 007 film Spectre. Narcos premieres on Netflix on Aug. 28.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME Comcast

This Is How Comcast Hopes to Keep Customers From Cutting the Cord

Comcast Rumored To End Merger Bid With Time Warner Cable
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Comcast offers Stream.

It’s a new $15-per-month service called ‘Stream’

Comcast has a new offering that the company likely hopes will make its customers reconsider cutting the cord.

The cable giant said late-Sunday that its broadband internet customers will soon have the option of paying just $15 a month to get live access to about a dozen TV networks over the web. Comcast’s new service, called Stream, includes the major broadcast networks, as well as HBO, and customers will also have access to “thousands of on demand movies and shows,” the company said.

Stream also comes with access to Comcast’s TV Everywhere web streaming app and a cloud DVR for recording and storing content.

The offer is only available to Comcast broadband subscribers and, to start, Comcast will first launch Stream in the Boston area at the end of this summer before eventually expanding the service to Chicago and Seattle. The company said Stream will roll out nationally early next year.

With the introduction of Stream, Comcast joins the ranks of large media companies courting so-called “cord-cutters,” who have shown a reluctance to pay for traditional large cable-and-internet packages. Earlier this year, Verizon launched its FiOS Custom TV service, which offers modified á la carte pricing for slimmer, customizable pay-TV bundles. Meanwhile, Dish Network offers a similar subscription service, Sling TV, and cord-cutters can also opt for services like Sony’s Playstation Vue.

The increase in the number of options for streaming online content without a cable subscription follows the rise in subscribers for services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon’s Prime.

The main difference between the other services available to streaming TV customers and Comcast’s Stream is that the latter is only available to Comcast’s own broadband subscribers, which allows the company to offer cord-cutter-like service without encouraging its customers to actually cut the cord.

Meanwhile, as Re/code notes, customers would be paying the $15-per-month for Stream on top of Comcast’s broadband-only subscription, and the combined total of those two packages could actually exceed Comcast’s basic, $45-per-month TV and broadband package, which also includes HBO. Comcast’s basic “Economy Plus” internet service costs about $35-per month.

MONEY stocks

It’s Time for Netflix to Make Some Real Money

Orange is the New Black
JoJo Whilden—Netflix Season 3 of Netflix's hit show, Orange is the New Black, dropped in June.

The streaming service's stock has soared, but its real profits are lagging.

Netflix NETFLIX INC. NFLX 0.07% stock has given investors plenty of scares in the past few years. But those brave enough to hold on through all the chaos have earned huge profits. Last month, Netflix stock touched $700 for the first time and it is up more than tenfold since late 2012.

Netflix’s share appreciation has been driven by steady subscriber growth and margin expansion in the U.S. along with growing signs that Netflix is catching on in international markets.

However, Netflix is reaching the point where it will soon have to start making some real money to keep the stock moving higher. Slender accounting profits and negative free cash flow — which have been the norm for the company in recent years — won’t cut it as Netflix transitions to being a relatively mature company over the next five years or so.

Still in investment mode
One thing that should be clear to investors is that Netflix stock trades purely based on projections of what it may achieve many years down the road. Netflix’s adjusted EPS reached $3.96 last year, but analysts expect that to dip to $1.31 this year before rebounding to $3.16 in 2016. Based on those estimates, Netflix stock trades for more than 200 times forward earnings.

In fact, Netflix’s 2016 EPS will still be well below the amount it earned all the way back in 2011, when diluted EPS peaked at $4.26. This just goes to show that Netflix is deep in investment mode. It is developing lots of new original content while launching its service in new foreign markets at a torrid pace.

Netflix’s cash flow statistics highlight its aggressive investment posture even more clearly. After running at around breakeven in terms of free cash flow for much of 2013 and 2014, Netflix’s free cash flow has turned sharply negative, reaching -$163 million in Q1. Netflix CFO David Wells has warned investors to expect this negative free cash flow to continue.

International expansion isn’t the only drag on profit
This isn’t to say that Netflix investors should be worried about the company’s big investments. Netflix’s investments in new markets and developing of compelling original content seem like smart moves that have a very good chance of paying off in the long run.

Many Netflix bulls take comfort from the strong growth of Netflix’s domestic contribution profit. In Q1, the domestic streaming contribution margin hit a record 31.7%, while domestic streaming contribution profit rose 55% year over year to $312 million.

However, the reality is a little more complicated. Netflix’s “contribution profit” metric excludes technology costs and other corporate overhead. These costs totaled $235 million in Q1, thus absorbing about three-quarters of Netflix’s domestic contribution profit. Netflix also incurred interest expense of $27 million in the quarter.

Thus, after deducting all of these other expenses, only $50 million of Netflix’s $312 million domestic streaming contribution profit made it to the (pre-tax) bottom line. In other words, Netflix’s low profitability can’t just be blamed on international expansion costs. (That said, if Netflix’s international operations were profitable, they could offset some of the overhead costs.)

How high can domestic profit grow?
As Netflix continues to penetrate the U.S. and starts to mature in its international markets, its profitability will undoubtedly shoot higher — especially if it starts getting material contribution profits from its international operations. But just how much profit should investors expect?

In the past few quarters, Netflix’s management has repeatedly laid out a goal of earning a 40% contribution margin in the domestic streaming business by 2020. CFO David Wells clarified on the company’s Q4 earnings call that this target assumes steady growth between now and then.

So let’s assume that Netflix adds 5 million subscribers annually between now and 2020. That would represent a very solid performance. It would be a little less than the 5.73 million domestic subscribers Netflix added in the past year, but that in turn was down from the 6.5 million domestic subscribers added in the previous year.

This would bring Netflix’s domestic subscriber base to about 66 million. Assuming annual revenue of $115 per subscriber — which incorporates the likelihood of another price increase within the next five years — Netflix’s domestic streaming revenue would reach roughly $7.5 billion. At a 40% contribution margin, the contribution profit would be $3 billion.

However, Netflix’s other operating expenses could easily reach $2 billion by then. (That would assume a compound annual increase of only 15%; last quarter, other operating expenses jumped 41% year over year.) Meanwhile, DVD segment profit will be negligible by then — perhaps enough to cover Netflix’s interest payments, but not much more.

The net result is that Netflix might earn $1 billion in pre-tax profit, excluding the international business. Considering that the domestic business will be more or less mature by then, that’s not nearly enough by itself to justify Netflix’s current $40 billion valuation.

Netflix needs to make a lot of money abroad
To drive strong share price appreciation for investors, Netflix eventually will need to earn at least as much money outside the U.S. as from its domestic operations. Continuing with the scenario described above, even with a $3 billion international contribution profit, Netflix’s after-tax profit would be around $2.5 billion (assuming a normal tax rate).

Netflix already trades for 16 times its hypothetical earnings in this favorable 2020 scenario. For the stock to keep rising rapidly, investors need to see the potential for significant upside beyond that.

Is it possible that Netflix will be able to capture this upside? Absolutely. But it won’t be simple. Before betting any of my own hard-earned cash on Netflix successfully dominating the world, I’d like to see it make some real money for a start.
tioned to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They’re not the ones you’d think!

Read next: What’s Next for Netflix?

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TIME Netflix

Netflix Announces Release Dates For its First Original Movies

2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6
Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images

This is a new frontier for the video streaming service

Netflix has finally announced the release dates for its initial wave of original films, and the first — “Beasts of No Nation” by acclaimed director Cary Fukunaga — will be available as soon as October this year.

The other films — Adam Sandler’s “The Ridiculous Six,” “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday,” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” — will be released in December, March, and sometime in the first quarter of 2016, respectively, the company said.

The films will all be made available on Netflix, but some will also be released in cinemas. “Beasts of No Nation” will be released concurrently on the streaming service and in select theaters, and the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel will be shown in Chinese theaters and in IMAX.

The original films represent a new frontier for the video streaming service, which enjoyed huge membership gains after the introduction of original TV series such as “Orange is the New Black,” and “House of Cards.” Creating original films takes that success one step further.

Netflix’s foray into original films also promises to shake up the film’s industry’s business model, in which movies (or at least the good ones) are only released to streaming services and DVD a few months after they are shown in theaters.

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