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Oscar Powers Netflix's Top Ten Most-Rented List

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 3, 2011 at 11:09AM

Netflix's ten most-rented list of all time (list below) reminds us of the long-tail Power of Oscar. And it should remind Netflix, as it splits its DVD and streaming business and alienates many of its customers who are used to relying on its deep long-tail arcania, that their solid customer base is smart adults, not the great unwashed, something they seem to be in danger of forgetting as they focus on TV and mainstream acquisitions and let smaller movies go.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Netflix's ten most-rented list of all time (list below) reminds us of the long-tail Power of Oscar. And it should remind Netflix, as it splits its DVD and streaming business and alienates many of its customers who are used to relying on its deep long-tail arcania, that their solid customer base is smart adults, not the great unwashed, something they seem to be in danger of forgetting as they focus on TV and mainstream acquisitions and let smaller movies go.

10. No Country for Old Men
9. Iron Man
8. Inception
7. Sherlock Holmes
6. The Departed
5. The Hurt Locker
4. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. The Bucket List
2. Crash
1. The Blind Side

Many of us in the indie sector thought that Netflix had the right stuff to become the Last Great Hope for indie distribution with their recommendation software and in-depth library of titles. But unfortunately they floundered when Red Envelope tentatively entered indie releasing with such micro titles as The Puffy Chair. Now it seems that what worked to build them up--starting with early adopters and ardent film fans--isn't what they think they need going forward.

Watch this interview with Netflix's Ted Sarandos on streaming, below.

Ted Sarandos of Netflix on the Shift from DVDs to Streaming Movies from Scott Kirsner on Vimeo.

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Franchises, Headliners, Digital Future, Oscars, The Hurt Locker, Coens, Kathryn Bigelow, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Chris Nolan, Batman, Inception, Sandra Bullock


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.