Part of the reason is because when it comes to awards, they are still skewed towards giving a leg up to projects that were distributed through traditional means, said independent film marketing consultant David Weitzner, who is the former president of worldwide marketing for 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures.
While shows like "House of Cards" and "Transparent" are often held up as examples of digital series that have won major awards, rules make it hard for most to qualify. "Weight" won a specifically designated Writers Guild Award category for online projects, and the 12-minute pilot length would not qualify it as a TV series. Meanwhile, to qualify for the Academy Awards, a film still requires an opening week theatrical run in Los Angeles before appearing on other platforms.
Weitzner, who is a member of the Academy, believes that is what hurt films like "Beast of No Nation." Although Netflix did follow the Academy Awards qualifications rules, he said that because it was mainly distributed through digital means many voters dismissed it.
"The film was largely ignored by the academy voting members because it was on Netflix and didn't receive a wide theatrical distribution," he said. "It breaks my heart because I believe some of the performances in that film were spectacular and deserved to be recognized."
Also, the audience still remains a lot younger, said Gary Binkow, chief content officer of Studio71. He previously produced movies like "Finding Neverland" and "The Nanny Diaries."
"Digital is still the ugly stepchild, but if you're trying to reach a millennial or younger millennial audience, they're not watching linear television. They don't have cable. If you are trying to reach 40- and 50-year-olds and they are not on digital platforms," he added. "However, I think the lines are being blurred by platforms like Netflix."