Remember when Blockbuster was a thing…
Now, everyone is all about Netflix. Netflix was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1997. The following year, Netflix launched its website with 925 titles available for rent and amassed 30 million dollars in funding by 1999. However, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s when Netflix really began to take off. With improved bandwidths and data speeds, people are now able to stream TV shows and movies wherever they are. Netflix has an estimated user-count of 137 million people worldwide in October 2018 and has gained massive attention in today’s day and age. Is this necessarily a positive change?
Let’s begin by looking at the entertainment industry. With Blockbuster way out of the picture, there are only a few competitors to challenge Netflix’s dominance over the industry. Companies such as Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube share the market with Netflix; however, Netflix has the greatest influence and second greatest participation among entertainment providers within households. It has been reported that viewers average 28 hours per month of watch time.
So let’s be honest. How has Netflix impacted theaters and cable TV? Is the change a good one or a bad one? When we come home from school, we immediately think of turning on our favorite show to relax. Now, we don’t even have to wait for the show to come on. Everything is on demand. On the weekends, we stay in the comforts of our couch to watch a movie. Because of how convenient and efficient Netflix is, watching a movie at the theaters or waiting for our favorite TV shows has become a thing of the past. It’s great to have everything at our disposal! It also means people can watch at their own pace. But at one point, Netflix has made the sport of watching movies and TV shows into an individual activity, and the homey feeling of tight-packed living rooms and booming theaters got lost.
With Netflix grasping hold of hours of our daily lives, it has ruined what we call ‘normal’ TV. We often forget why ‘normal’ TV is good because of our need to quench our immediate desires, the need to binge-watch the show everyone has been talking about. Although watching whole seasons at a time can sound enticing to some, where is the fun in that? Waiting every week for the newest episode has been ripped away from us. Now there is no anticipation, no mystery of what will happen next. Before the era of Netflix domination, entertainment was more than binge-watching TV shows, but also socializing with your friends and family and being able to watch live TV together. It is impossible to converse about shows without potentially spoiling it to your friends. Because of the facility that Netflix provides for users to maneuver into the next episode, conversations about the most recent TV shows has died, and so has the fun.
Graphic: Ryan Rhew