SINGAPORE (Jan 28): On Jan 22, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 91st Oscars awards, which will be presented at its annual gala event on Feb 24. And the winner… at least in so far as nominations go, was not one of the once-giant Hollywood studios Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures or Warner Bros Pictures, but Netflix, the video-streaming pioneer and the world’s biggest producer of filmed entertainment. 

It was not surprising that Netflix was nominated for 15 Academy Awards, including 10 for Roma, a black-and-white emotional portrait of a domestic worker’s journey set against the political turmoil in 1970s Mexico, but rather that Roma is the first “Best Picture” nominee with no reported box-office revenue in the US. The movie was released in a few small US theatres that Netflix had booked for a couple of days, so nobody paid to watch it. Most people watched Roma at home with their Netflix subscription.

Few consumer technologies have been as disruptive as video streaming. High-speed broadband access allows us to download a whole movie within minutes. That has fuelled a boom in video content. You do not have to be in a cinema or sit in front of your TV to watch a Netflix TV series or movie. You can watch it on the go, whenever you want, on your smartphone, tablet or any other device. If content is king, ­Netflix has helped prove that distribution is the key to the kingdom.

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