Is Netflix Good For TV?

Since 1997, Netflix has been a go-to for easy access to movies through the web. Expanding its content, Netflix has quickly become an easy way to watch television. The percentage of users who prefer to stream television went from 19 percent to 27 percent in the last year and it is likely to increase. This trend is not only changing the way people watch their shows, but could be good for TV in many ways.

Television is an ever evolving medium that continues to change every day. In fact, the more television that becomes available, the less necessary it is to actually watch it on a television screen. The vast number of show options makes following the intended schedule a nearly impossible task. In this respect, Netflix allows television viewers the ability to watch shows they never have they never time to see or even know about. A marathon of episodes is presented to a Netflix user in a way television does not offer.

It’s very easy to get immersed in a show when watching it on Netflix. Once a user watches one episode, Netflix will prompt him or her into the next one. This encourages the viewer to watch multiple episodes and get to know a show fast, whether it is still running or it has ended. In the case of a show still running, Netflix allows the user to catch up on a show and see whether they would enjoy it on a regular basis. A television viewer without Netflix may be curious about a series, but might not want to start after the show has been on for a few seasons. For a Netflix user, this does not have to be an issue. Someone can simply watch the episodes of the series that have aired and be ready to watch a new episode of the show within weeks. For a series that has ended, a user can get to know a part of television history. This is regardless of whether the series is good or not. Simply recommending a series to a Netflix subscriber can lead to them watching a show in its entirety.

Making a show accessible is a fundamental need in television, but this method is not without its drawbacks. Television episodes are produced in bunches, but making room on a schedule is not the only reason why they are usually aired weekly. It gives the viewer something to look forward to. It provides them with a sense of ongoing drama or comedy. There is a reason why some things are still appointment television. Someone who watches a show regularly can look forward to being entertained on a regular basis for several months. This is lost with online viewing. If a hit series lasts several years, it can be watched by a Netflix user in a manner that makes all the episodes run together. He or she may gain less of appreciation for a shows characters and situations, which leads to a general feeling of thinking a show is merely “good.” The less pressed  a viewer is to watch television on a schedule, the more likely it is that live television may eventually not be needed. This may be years away, but episodic storytelling has been brilliantly achieved through the medium of television. It doesn’t seem right that television may itself become a part of television history.

The implementation of Netflix for television viewing has yet to show any extreme ill effects for the original medium, but that doesn’t mean that that time will not arrive soon. On the positive side, a viewer can watch multiple seasons of a series in a short amount of time. Television culture changes fast. The number of television channels available went from single digits to triple digits in the last century. Online viewing has quickly become a part of our culture and we should embrace it. For better or worse, Netflix will continue to be a part of the television landscape.

Posted on July 16, 2012, in Netflix and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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