BY VICTORIA PIGNATELLI
With more original and independently produced shows, streaming video services like Netflix is changing the way American society is viewing and receiving entertainment.
Within the last three years, the television industry has seen a large number of growth in the online, on-demand, and personalized means of obtaining one’s entertainment. Viewer trends have shown a shift in the way that the public is obtaining media has had an effect on the way the industry advertises and earns from its properties.
The effects may not be known or understood for some time, however it is apparent that the on-demand era of arts and entertainment is definitely here and thriving.
Netflix is the strongest of the internet-based providers of on-demand viewing of both television programs and films. Hulu and YouTube do offer similar means of viewing, however Netflix remains the most popular and accessible throughout the United States. Just a few years ago, before Orange is The New Black had its premiere on Netflix, there did not seem to be a real impetus behind it. It was already grounded in its mail-order DVD by 2006, and its online streaming by early 2010. Netflix changed the game of what the conventional media considered great television when in 2011, House of Cards premiered, launching the entire season for any and all of its subscribers to take part in. What consumers didn’t know then, was how much the advent of the Netflix original would change many watch television programs.
Now, in 2015, Netflix has presented its subscribers with over 50 original films and television shows that have revolutionized and revitalized Netflix and the streaming medium. From Orange is The New Black to a relatively new comedy, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the varieties in genre within the Netflix originals are limitless.
What Netflix does, launching its shows all at once instead of the conventional broadcast channel method of once a week, is dramatically shifting the way that television shows are viewed and shared among social groups. No longer does a show have to be watched piece by piece, only talking to one’s co-workers about last night’s episode of whatever show the broadcast networks have been trying to get the public to watch. There is choice now. Of course there always has been a form of choice, but now there is much more that consumers are able to choose from with their Netflix subscriptions. The notion of personalized choice and instant gratification that comes with using Netflix is something of a novelty now. Netflix is mentioned everywhere, the shows that are original from them and come out on their website are getting nominated for Emmy awards.
The advent of Netflix has raised questions in what the next iteration in entertainment will be. Can there be yet another development beyond the Netflix Original, or is this all that the public can expect for now, as the technology is finessed to a more perfect state?
These are many questions that television and media analysts must be asking themselves and their colleagues. From several interviews conducted here at The County College of Morris, varying opinions and usage style of Netflix have been explored.
Kelsey G., a teacher education major says that she doesn’t use the service all that much.
“Sometimes I watch Netflix, but not as often,” Kelsey G. said. “I don’t binge watch either.”
Kelsey G. said that she primarily watches Japanese anime.
“Because I bond with my older sister through it,” Kelsey G. said. “It isn’t as frequent now that school started.”
Social work major Margarita stated that she only really watches tv shows on Netflix, like the Walking Dead, in terms of binging.
“ I don’t do it often, but when I do it can be for 12 hours, which I completely relax in,” Margarita said.
However, a duo of students perpetuated the popular belief those media scholars declare. Francis, an electronic engineering major, and Christian, a Digital Media major both are active binge watchers on Netflix.
“Netflix is way better than TV, and Orange is the New Black is the best show on it,” Christian said.
The changes mean traditional broadcast television may need to offer more on demand services to stay relevant. Each channel has applications for most smartphones and smart devices, but they aren’t nearly as smooth running as Netflix.
Netflix has indeed transformed the way many people receive their entertainment. Whether it be an old favorite film, or a brand new comedy series that was binge-watched in a day, things have definitely changed.