Netflix was founded in 1997 after the now CEO, Reed Hastings, received a 40-dollar late return fine for a DVD. I’m sure twenty years on he never expected that his once Rental Company would turn into a streaming service worth 81.5 billion dollars. Many people are using Netflix to watch their favourite shows. With Netflix now creating tonnes of original content that is competing with standard TV shows. Is a shift in the way the public watches television inevitable, or is this just a phase that will slowly fade away?
Online streaming services are relatively new in the timeline of television and our media consumption practices. Ordinarily we would just switch on the TV, open the guide, see what is being shown, and jump in where we can. By having Netflix, the option of choosing what to watch, being able to pause it, skip to any part, and start from where you left off becomes a reality. On the TV, if you miss the beginning of a show that you want to watch then you have to wait an hour to watch it on a ‘plus one’ channel or uploaded online. Netflix doesn’t have scheduling of what time episodes are aired, leaving the choice of when you want to watch shows completely down to the viewer.
This is something that has appealed to a lot of TV consumers, as all of a series’ episodes on Netflix are available from the moment the first episode is released. You have the option to watch it all in a day, a week, or how ever long you like, rather than having to wait for scheduled releases.
Netflix’s first original show ‘Lillyhammer’ released back in 2014 had a budget of 6 million dollars. Last year, their original drama ‘The Crown’ had a budget of 100 million dollars. This competes with HBO’s show Game Of Thrones, which cost approximately 130 million dollars. This shows the growth of Netflix and their ability to now compete with the major television networks.
This year Netflix planned on spending 6 billion dollars on 1,000 hours of original television, which is an extremely impressive amount. It has been said that SKY and HBO have joined forces to create a 250 million dollar drama production, a journey that they will go on together to create rival content to Netflix’s.
Netflix isn’t worried in the slightest about the competition. This is probably due to the fact that it now has over 100 million subscribers worldwide and is managing to produce binge worthy content that keeps viewers locked in for the countdown to the next episode.
Does this mean that the way we watch television is going to change? I don’t think so. There will always be people that prefer watching live TV and there will be people that prefer watching their dramas on Netflix. The streaming service doesn’t cater to all as it mainly offers dramas and films. This is something that people enjoy watching, but, for some, the decision to pick a show can get too much and all they want is to sit and watch whatever’s on at the time.