Though the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ is a relatively new internet slang, Netflix has a definite superiority in terms of age. Wikipedia defines Netflix Inc. as “a media-services provider headquartered in Los Gatos, California, founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California. The company’s primary business is its subscription-based streaming OTT service which offers online streaming of a library of films and television programs, including those produced in-house.”
A more empathetic definition would be, the website everyone finds a ‘home’ in when looking to binge watch a series, or have movie marathons after a drilling lecture or a draining week of examinations or simply because it is a weekend and one can! Netflix has become a hub of a variety of demographics to choose from. It provides customers a wide pool of options and aids them in exploring their interests and in a rather insignificant way, hones their decision making skills. In the movie ‘You’ve Got MaiI’, the character Joe Fox says, “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” I’ll tell you this, Netflix definitely has more number of options than any Starbucks menu.
I take up this topic, not just to praise what Netflix is today, but to analyse if there has been a change in the perspective of people or their ideas in the way movies are being made for this enormous audience, specifically taking up this platform as their only way to make money. From movies like Bright, starring Will Smith, an array of Christmas films in the month of December, to Narcos being advertised internationally on platforms other than digital media, there has been a total shift in the paradigm of watching movies and series. Netflix isn’t just a hub of movies and series but so much more. It is a platform that deeply caters to its subscribers, not only by providing them existing content on an easily accessible website, but by creating new content too. Now, with competition against Amazon Prime, one cannot deny the rise in magnitude of its original content which is called ‘Netflix Originals’. From Netflix partnering with Airtel to give viewers a few months of free subscription, to providing a built in ‘app’ for every smart television, they definitely have their audience addicted! Unlike what many would have thought, it was solely in movie business for a long time until it entered the content-production industry in 2012, debuting its first series Lilyhammer.
Netflix is expected to generate approximately 328.3 million U.S. dollars by 2020 with its Indian streaming segment. Economic times states “On the back of this growth, the company has seen its share price double in the last 12 months, helping it reach a market capitalisation of $120 billion.” Much like the last subheading on the Netflix Wikipedia page that is titled ‘Effects & Legacy’, Netflix most definitely is promising to satisfy generations together. Every old show is a legacy left behind for a newer audience and every new show is waiting to effect the old audience.
How liable is the content for one to not get influenced by it? I can vouch for the positive influence considering the awareness a specific series or movie can raise regarding subjects like bullying, adoption, LGBTQ community, sex-education etc. There is also a rise in the genres of crime and thrillers. We know they give an insight into life and mind of a ‘fictional criminal’ but how often do we not incorporate what we see repeatedly on screen into our everyday affairs? From simple catch phrases by our favourite character to a specific mannerism of a beloved role, human beings have a natural tendency to imitate. There is definitely no guarantee that the influence one carries might not cross a line and delve into something darker that, for sure, is not suggested.
But well, entertainment is the key to living in the 21st century and Netflix only gives more of it. Let’s not deny the ease of watching our favourite shows that it has provided. And as Cameron Dallas states, “I don’t own cable, but my TV came with a Netflix button”.
Picture Courtesy- Netflix