The online streaming giant Netflix, once intended to sell the company to Blockbuster Video for $50 million in 2000, which the latter declined. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you don’t know what Blockbuster Video is. It was a video rental service that was very successful before the emergence of Netflix. Fast forward to 2018, Blockbuster has been defunct for more than four years, whereas the revenue of Netflix is upwards of $11 billion. This story alone is enough to comprehend the growth of video streaming industry in the last decade, which has been nothing short of phenomenal.
It’s no secret that services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have completely changed the way we consume film and TV. With an emphasis on binge-watching shows, without needing to sit through several ads or waiting for new episodes, streaming services have influenced the very culture of movie-watching. But that’s not all they’ve influenced. These streaming services have also changed how
TV shows and movies get made, and how they’re released for audiences to watch. Web television series such as Master of None, Mindhunter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Stranger Things, Narcos, BoJack Horseman, and so many more are funded by and run on Netflix. Even Marvel has teamed up with them to put out shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher. Other streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Hulu have also begun to produce their own shows to rival Netflix. It’s easy to see the appeal. A large library of shows and movies means that you no longer need to wait for the new episode, or for that movie you want to watch, to air on TV. Chances are it’s on one of these platforms for you to watch at ease! Whole seasons being uploaded at once rather than an episode at a time means that you can binge watch shows instead of waiting every week. For producers, Netflix proves to be very alluring, as they fund entire seasons without asking for a pilot episode
Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have also proven themselves to be producers of quality content, as can be seen from the awards they won at the Golden Globes this year. In fact, Amazon and Hulu have been giving Netflix stiff competition, as they bagged more awards than the streaming giant, even though they had fewer nominations. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” won two awards; One for Best Television Series – Drama with Elisabeth Moss winning the second, Best Actress in a TV Series – Drama. Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won two awards as well; Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Rachel Brosnahan won Best Actress in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy for her performance in the same. Aziz Ansari’s Best Actor in a TV series - Musical or Comedy for Master of None was the only award Netflix went home with.
Rachel Brosnahan at the Golden Globe Awards, 2018
Netflix has proved to be a big contender for feature films as well, outbidding several studios for high-profile projects such as Bright, starring Will Smith’s in the lead . Since the movie isn’t released in theatres and is immediately available for subscribers in the comfort of their homes, it has caused some concern in the film industry. The CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, John Fithian, even called Netflix a “grave threat to the movie business”. Their fears aren’t unfounded. Netflix has been becoming a serious force in Hollywood. Even their campaigns have gotten more serious. Going back to Bright, Will Smith, his co-actors and the director have even come to India, as part of their world tour to promote the movie.But how have they gotten so strong? In a word: Convenience. Watching movies on Netflix is much easier and more convenient that going to a theatre. Plus, your movie is synced on all your devices, so you can watch a movie on your TV at home, stop midway and continue watching it from where you stopped on your phone or tablet in the cab, and then watch it on your laptop when you reach the airport.
If you want to watch a movie in theatres, it becomes an event. You’d have to set time aside for it, go out, and if you need to leave half way, you’ll have to spend more money to go watch the rest of it. Plus, a Netflix subscription gives you access to so many more movies, as opposed to needing to buy a ticket each time you go to the theatre.
The large library available also helps in Netflix’s overall appeal to consumers, as they have many old and new shows available for viewing. Traditional media such as TV and cinemas have been experiencing a decline in viewers, as streaming services like Netflix have been gaining an influx in subscribers. Does all this mean that mainstream cinema is destined to die out? It may not be so. While Netflix does provide the convenience of being able to watch a wide range of movies and TV shows from the comfort of your own home, the entire theatre experience is not something that can be fully captured on the 6-inch screen of your smartphone. Some movies are made to be watched on the big screen. The scale and spectacle of a movie like Inception or Dunkirk can only have its desired effect when viewed in IMAX. It won’t feel nearly as epic or tremendous on your iPad.
- Open Face Team
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