Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Future is Here

A majority of the people consume TV on a set schedule that is at the whims of the channel broadcasting it. A majority of shows release episodes on a weekly basis. An episode a week is what consumers get. If a consumer misses an episode, they would have to jump through so many hoops to have a chance to watch it again. The consumer would have to wait for DVD release, find someone who recorded it, or download it to watch it. They would have to put in more time and effort into the episode than what would have been if they just caught it on time. Netflix, Hulu,  and Amazon among many others have mitigated  this problem substantially. Now consumers can watch anything they want, any time they want at the click of a button. These services have fundamentally changed how consumers experience the content they love.

A great example is that many subscribers partake in something called “binge watching” where in they watch whole seasons of shows in one sitting. Whole shows are devoured in less than a week. Netflix is even thinking about offering movies on their release day. So instead of having to go to the theater to watch new movies, subscribers can watch new release from the comfort of their homes. Netflix and other services like it have completely changed the game. this major change has many supporters saying that this is the future of television. it was a logical next step from DVR and Tivo. I like to think that they are right. The weekly episode is a thing of the past and content on demand is here to stay.

Online streaming and content on demand is the future. Consumers are more likely to watch something if they are interested in it. Cable networks figured this out and rolled out specialized channels that cater to these certain tastes. The landscape of TV changed dramatically, now consumers were not constrained by what their local broadcasters chose to air, they can now choose what kind of content that they wanted to watch. For many years this was common practice until streaming services like Netflix and Hulu came along and shook everything up again. They offered a service where a subscriber paid a flat fee for access to thousands of hours of content with a touch of a button.

Much like the model Apple’s iTunes service works under, consumers now pay for what they want to watch any time they want. After Hulu and Netflix paved the way, other companies started offering on demand content to their subscribers, Amazon and Sony, are just a couple among hundreds. Consumers can watch singular episodes from different seasons. On Amazon, customers can buy individual episodes instead of wallowing through season after season searching for that perfect episode. There is just one caveat, consumers can only watch what has already been shown on traditional tv, following schedules and all that jazz. Netflix, up until recently, has followed this model of supplying content, but earlier this year, has said,” Forget this noise, we’ll do our own content and give it to you guys all at once.”

Netflix released four shows of original content that had favorable reviews and were nominated for 14 Emmys. (Carr, 2013). The show, House of Cards, in particular was unique in that Netflix released all of season one all at once. The subscribers just lapped it all up. House of Cards became Netflix’s most streamed show EVER. (Silver, 2013). Netflix didn't have to sell commercial time for investors. They had faith in their content and it all won out in the end. They adopted the HBO model of paying for whole seasons to be produced and letting the creators have freedom on what was being created. Producers were no longer put on a stranglehold of pleasing the network or trying to cater to advertisers demands. They could now create what they wanted to create without any say from the outside.

Now that Netflix has shown that its own original content is on par with the big cable networks. Netflix, as a platform for on demand content, has proven it self. Several studios have jumped onto the Netflix bandwagon and struck a deal with Netflix to air original content. Marvel Studios just signed a deal with them to air four original superhero shows that will only air on Netflix. Netflix seeing the success of putting new original content all at once is now looking at possibly offering movie premiers on the same day as they open in theaters. (Wallenstein and Setoodeh, 2013)

Now that Netflix has blown the traditional structure of TV out of the water, it is working to improve its subscribers experience by further enhancing how content is offered. A week ago Netflix overhauled its interface to better serve their subscribers. “ just looks like a sleek new interface upgrade...but underneath there’s a hint of things to come: the idea that soon, viewers will look at the video-streaming service no differently than they do the guide channel piped in through their living room’s cable box.” (Watercutter, 2013) Another Netflix featured called Max, helps viewers choose which content to watch based on their interests. Subscribers are almost guaranteed to find something that they will want watch just by answering a few questions. Content at the fingertips of their subscribers, the heart of on demand streaming services.

Netflix has shown numerous successes in their business model. It’s stock, despite some minor hiccups, has skyrocketed over recent years to reflect that Netflix knows whats its doing and can stand on stage with the big boys. The future of TV is Netflix and it is here. Sit back and enjoy.

Works Cited
Carr, David. "TV Foresees Its Future, Netflix Is There." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 21 July 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <>.
Silver, Jon. "Netflix: A House of Cards or the New HBO?" The Conversation. N.p., 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <>.
Wallenstein, Andrew, and Ramin Setoodeh. "The Movie Deal Netflix Wants to Make — And It’s Not Day-and-Date." Variety. Variety Media, LLC, 5 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <>.
Watercutter, Angela. "Netflix’s New Look Is a Glimpse at the Future of TV." Condé Nast., 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <>.

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