The Netflix revolution

These days are either highly humid and hot or rainy , which mainly comes as a perfect excuse to watch a movie or binge-watch a show you’ve relentlessly heard of on Netflix.

This  streaming service has gain increasing popularity in the past five years. It has become an undoubtable player in the demise of video renting stores. It may also be one of the reasons (along  with pricy movie tickets) why people tend to go to the movies less often. In actuality it might be video stores’ new and improved replacement. Ken Auletta from The New Yorker explained the hype surrounding this relatively new streaming service “During peak hours, Netflix accounts for more than thirty per cent of all Internet down-streaming traffic in North America, nearly twice that of YouTube, its closest competitor.”

Effectively, Netflix offers a variety of television series (full seasons), movies and even original content including some that has critical acclaim. Think House of Cards which changed the game in 2013 or Orange Is The New Black. These series are also nominated for Emmys.This means that when you subscribe for a few bucks a month you get at your fingertips many titles that are available through your devices: console, smartphone, tablet and computer. Without a doubt this way of watching has extended and reshaped the experience of traditional television.

For starters, Netflix watching means there is less waiting involved. That is the main reason why viewing through this streaming service is often referred to as binge-watching. It could be compared to an all-you-can-eat buffet; you can try anything that is available and if you don’t like what you picked you can pick something else.When you choose something you enjoyed, you can continue to consume it with no interruption. You can watch episodes back-to-back, which means there isn’t necessarily a built up or even a lingering mystery, since you get to know what comes after that cliffhanger immediately with one click. Some would argue that the time to grow on the characters is limited. To me, this doesn’t ring truth because if a character or a story resonates with us, it will capture our imagination, even though we might have seen 3 seasons in under a month. Of course, every user is different, however binge-watching is a wide spread manner of getting caught up. There is an individual pace of watching that develops. Even though there is a large amount of content, users watch it at their own rythm, so it may be harder to discuss series without revealing spoilers to others who are just starting to view a show you just finished.

What I am merely observing is that this way of watching gratifies our entertainment desires immediately, whereas “traditional” television involves waiting the next week (or longer when there are mid-series hiatus and other interruptions)to see what happens next to your beloved characters in a series. The waiting period leaves you wanting more, maybe even thinking about the plot before viewing the next episode. Consuming televisual content through Netflix and the like might also make us impatient or even more so than before. This idea goes hand in hand with  the increase of the media and Internet’s involvement in our daily lives. Having so much choice (and quality) at hand makes Netflix become part of our lifestyles not-so-slowly replacing the more ‘traditional’ way of watching. Almost gone are the times where you sit on your couch zapping away cheesy commercials and surfing through the programs until you find something you think you would enjoy. Netflix doesn’t have commercials, hence everything you watch comes uninterrupted, so you get straight to entertainment.

It also delivers compelling content which benefits from a hefty dose of creative freedom that is not always possible on network television with censurship and commercial time. Soon, Netflix will dive first in the production of an original movie called Beast of No Nation among four others that are set to be released in October. Needless to say, we can continue to expect new and innovative ways to create content that are both thought provoking and entertaining.

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