Can Netflix sustain its rise? – 10 Years of Binging

Gabrielle Klemt - 2A Geological
Posted on: January 28, 2017

I blink my eyes and stare blearily at my phone. 1:32 AM. When did that happen? Surely it’s not already one thirty? I had so many plans; I was going to finally start sewing those patches on my covvies, what about that coffeeshop I was supposed to go check out earlier? Wasn’t there some event that I was going to go to? Do I have work in 6 hours? Slowly my day starts to unwind in the back of my mind like a movie reel. Waking up bright and early and full of intentions, turning on Netflix to pass the time with breakfast…

Now it’s coming back to me. There was that show everyone was talking about, they said it was good but it couldn’t hurt to watch one episode. Now, hours later two seasons in and no snack food left in the house I feel defeated by the beast that is Netflix. How is it that all will to move can have been drained out of me by the desire, the innate need to watch the next episode!

As humans, it’s in our DNA (total scientific research went into this) to binge on things we love, and there’s no way that’s changing any time soon. There’s no doubt in my mind that Netflix will continue streaming as long as there’s demand, which is great for me and my bad habit. What I think will change is what Netflix is, and pretty soon they’re going to turn into more of a production company, which they’ve already begun doing considering how much original material they put out just this past year compared to three years ago.

It’s hard to believe, but it was actually in 1997 that Netflix started out. Happy 20th, compadre! In the beginning they simply rented DVDs, but in 1999, they upgraded to the monthly subscription format which allowed you to rent as many movies as you wanted for a month. In 2007 Netflix moved to their much more well-known streaming model online. In 2013 Netflix released its first original TV series, House of Cards, and life as we know it changed. It was the first online only show to receive Emmy nominations and it brought Netflix into a much brighter spotlight.

Do you remember when you first started talking to your friends about Netflix? Do you remember when it first started really showing up in pop culture? I don’t either but reading that apparently it has been around for my entire life was quite surprising. Netflix has managed to worm itself so deeply into our culture that it’s hard to imagine a future without it.

It’s no secret that arguably the best shows in the past few years have come out of Netflix. Yes, there are some outliers but Netflix has created a formula that works so well people can’t stop consuming it. When you make every episode available at once the way Netflix does, you’re able to create a huge movie in bite-size segments. The movie industry tried its hardest with this; think of the seventh Harry Potter movie, then try really hard not to think about the Hobbit. They knew there was just way too much content to satisfy the fans with one movie, so they tried and ultimately failed, to make everyone happy by splitting the book into halves, creating a trend Hollywood just won’t quit even though they really should. Netflix, with its small episode-sized sections, can do the same thing so much more effectively because there’s no need to make each episode into a whole movie. Additionally, they’re able to create tons of content themselves because they already have so many viewers waiting for it.

So, since it has now officially been 10 years since Netflix started offering us the ability to watch all of the shows (well, not all of them, where’s my British TV at?) all at once with the click of a mouse, is it possible that Netflix will continue to innovate for the next 10 years? Or maybe even the next 50? While the content coming out of Netflix is very high right now, especially considering the low quality of a lot of other media, they probably can’t stay in this area of creation and streaming of content.

So do I think Netflix can sustain its rise? You better believe it. And I can’t wait, especially if it means I get to continue to watch some of my favourite book series turned into fantastic mini-series rather than shitty movies. Netflix is going to get bigger and bigger but I don’t think it will stay the same streaming site it is now. It’s going to go into live shows and production and turn into some kind of on-demand cable/production house. Yes, one day it will stop producing the loveable indie shows we’ve come to expect from it and the content will get stale, but that will be when it’s old and fat like most of us and some new kid will come on the scene with some great new ideas. For now, I’m going to continue watching the Series of Unfortunate Events if you’ll care to join me, and await something new to feed my procrastination.