×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix’s Newest App Isn’t for Consumers, but the People Making Its Shows

First, Netflix used technology to reinvent the way movies and TV shows are being watched. Now, it wants to do the same thing with the way they’re being made.

To that end, Netflix has been working on several experimental apps designed to simplify some key parts of the production process, including the management of a crew, the scheduling of a shoot, and the budgeting to pay for it all. One of those apps, dubbed Move, has been in testing with select Netflix productions since November.

“Ultimately, we are competing with pen and paper,” explained Netflix director of studio technology Chris Gross during a press briefing on Tuesday. Crews have traditionally relied on a lot of paperwork to organize their schedule on set, distribute the script to everyone involved in each and every scene, and generate a wrap report at the end of each day.

Netflix Move
CREDIT: Janko Roettgers / Variety

Move does all of this for them in an app, and integrates with email and SMS to notify crew members of schedule changes. The company even decided to build Move as a progressive web app to take away the need to visit an app store before crew members are able to use it.

The Move app was first tested for the shoot of the second season of “Glow” this past November, and has since been used on 10 different shoots. Which sounds a lot, until you remember that Netflix has plans for 700 original shows in 2018.

Amie Tornincasa, Netflix’s manager of studio technology, explained that the company wants to slowly roll out Move, and other apps her group is working on, starting with a few select productions. “There is a reason why this industry hasn’t adopted technology like the way other industries have,” she said.

For one thing, pen and paper has actually served Hollywood well. Many of previous attempts to go digital failed because they either tried to force new solutions down everyone’s throats, or relied on closed silos, making studios buy into end-to-end platforms from one single vendor.

Netflix Move app
CREDIT: Janko Roettgers / Variety

Netflix is instead looking to build smaller pieces that can gradually replace old workflows over time, and is also tapping into existing solutions, including Google Drive. And the company isn’t looking as these apps as a way to save some money, but to actually help crews do their job.

That’s not to say that Netflix doesn’t have big ambitions for this push to bring tech to the set. The company currently has 30 to 35 people working on the project, who are often getting help from colleagues tasked with building Netflix’s consumer apps. That in itself is remarkable, given that many other companies in this space have fewer people working on their consumer apps.

Ultimately, Netflix envisions that these apps will be used by tens of thousands of people, both employed by the company as well as third-party vendors working on Netflix productions around the world.

Could the company one day make apps like Move available to competitors as well? “It’s a big question mark for us right now,” Gross said.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content