Since our film is now on TUBI, I’m trying to get to know the new service so I can figure out how to best advertise. I noted the genre of the first 40 documentaries listed on TUBI and then compared them to the first presented on Netflix. What I found surprised and depressed me. Netflix has pulled away from edgy documentaries and now favors celebrity exposés (Prince Harry), murder docs and docs about cult leaders, while TUBI is more likely to promote a doc about a lesser known subject: something not wildly famous or outwardly tantalizing for being a murder or a cult. TUBI is also strong on music docs which is the only reason they have more celebrity docs. If the band was wildly popular I listed them as a celebrity doc otherwise most of TUBI’s music docs are about behind the scenes people and clubs in American music movements. I appreciate this because...Netflix, do I really need to know more about Jennifer Lopez? Netfix's move toward mega celebrity/murder/cult docs is a result of them being cheap to produce, with subjects that are simple to advertise. They make business sense but they don't necessarily enrich your life or entertain you in a way that is novel or engaging. In other words, it's just another hour of fucking television. Experiment Method: Both of these services will suggest titles to mimic whatever you are watching so I entered them both with completely new profiles. I chose the number 40 because TUBI has a documentary category where they only show you 40 documentaries in their lineup. Anything else has to be searched. Netflix is not better… they just hide the fact that it is a limited list by making it repeat in an odd order over and over again, so if you’re not paying attention, you could waste hours perusing the same crap as your life slips slowly away. This is one good reason to hate Netflix. At least TUBI lets you be efficient with your time which almost makes up for the commercials.
From this chart I can see my chances of getting on TUBI are better because of the music angle. But what about the more critical financial exposé angle? Not too long ago, Netflix was known for doing gripping work like their series “Dirty Money” which pulled the curtain back on things that we all need to know about. Corporate FM aspires to be just as engaging but I fear that the only thing that would get it on Netflix today are the celebrities in it who only play supporting roles. Netflix internally produces more documentaries than TUBI which they give priority to over any independent film. This means that there are fewer people making decisions on what content is available on Netflix which is why the programing has become more predictable. TUBI originals exist, but they bend toward horror and B movie territory leaving a place for independent docs to have a more meaningful presence. I’m thankful for TUBI bringing Corporate FM to a wider audience except that they put the commercials in all the wrong places despite my instructions otherwise. TUBI, if you’re listening, please fix this. I spent a lot of time considering where the audience should experience a pause and I’m sure most of your other filmmakers are giving it thoughtful consideration too. Do not cut to commercial when the hero is crying, or in the middle of a chart that I'm reading, unless you want to drive filmmakers and viewers alike to switch to Netflix, Amazon, Max or whatever subscription service champions original content in the future.