Netflix is the Massage

As mentioned before, Netflix was able to change the television industry. But how was it able to change it in just about 25 years? From having good marketing strategies to the timing. When Netflix was founded it knew that people enjoyed buying and renting movies. To make it even more convenient, Netflix started a DVD delivery system. As Marshall McLuhan mentions that we focus on the obvious. We know that there are changes, the advantages and disadvantages of a new system but rarely do we know that the new system or invention had changed our lives. Sometimes it is a long change, other times it is a subtle change that we don’t even realize it (Mark Federman)  “Societies have always been shaped more by the nature of the media by which men communicate than by the content of the communication” (page 8) bring up a good point on how Netflix works. The content of Netflix is great but the reason why it could become so big wasn’t because of its content but the nature of the media. It is convenient. We don’t have to store physical DVDs or go to a store to get a movie. We can see anything easily anywhere.

Netflix being electric technology could change the way society is now because “electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement. It is impossible to understand social and cultural changes without knowledge of the workings of media” Which is true, Netflix was introduced in 1997. There were a lot of technological improvements but we still didn’t understand it well enough. We didn’t that it was slowly changing the DVD industry because we couldn’t understand it well enough.

McLuhan also mentions that a medium is the message; it is an extension of us. It is proven to be true with the analysis of different mediums. In this case, Netflix is an extension of us. We might deny that it isn’t an extension of ourselves but we are the reason why that medium is so big. Even the content of the medium is tailored to our preferences and our likes. By watching certain movies and television shows, Netflix can give you a suggestion of other movies and television shows that you might like to watch. That isn’t the only thing that it is a part of us. It tries to be like us by having a “brain”. It categorizes the contents into different parts very much like our brain. Netflix is also able to tell you the likes of others by getting information from other social media like Facebook.

McLuhan argues that the message is the medium. The content or the use of the innovation is not the message. The message is the “change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it” (Mark Federman) In the case of Netflix, it isn’t the content of Netflix or how it was founded but possibly the changes of lifestyle of us as humans and the changes in users in the internet because of Netflix. It is the change of point of view in people because of Netflix. Because of Netflix, people have found ways to learn about less known shows and movies and some have a positive attitude toward the movie industry when knowing it isn’t all “Hollywood”. The point is that the obvious changes aren’t the actual message. The message is hidden, it is not obvious.

For McLuhan, the changes, the innovation was television. It is interesting to see how that had change over time. Television is still around but the way it is watched has changed a lot. But I also believe that McLuhan knew that there would be changes. Just like he said “the medium, our process, of our time- electric technology – is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal life. It is forcing us to reconsider and reevaluate practically every thought, every action, and every institution formerly taken for granted” Many innovations have change the way our society works from our personal life to our social life. The changes have its advantages and disadvantages but many things that we took for granted in the past and in the present might not be there anymore in the future because of the many changes.

In conclusion, like many different mediums, Netflix was able to change the way our society is. It reshaped and restructured how our personal and social life is. It changed the way different industries that we took for granted, disappear or restructure.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark Federman, “What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message?”. Utoronto.ca. July 23, 2004. http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/article_mediumisthemessage.htm
  2. McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Massage”
  3. Image: http://s3.amazonaws.com/digitaltrends-uploads-prod/2013/12/netflix-movies-expiring-jan-2014.jpg

Artifact Politics – Netflix

netflix_logo

What is a VHS? a DVD? It is surprising how some might not know what they are. Newer laptops don’t even come with a cd drive. When Netflix was introduced, DVDs sales have decreased greatly. What it Netflix? Netflix is a streaming media that has variety of movies and TV shows with a monthly fee of $7.99. Netflix had change the way people watch movies and television shows.

Netflix has revolutionized the TV and DVD industry. When Netflix launched in 1997, it killed the DVD and video stores. Subscribers could watch an unlimited number per month. Video stores such as Blockbuster reported bankruptcy. Netflix’s DVD service wasn’t the end of it. By having entire seasons of TV shows would allow subscribers to binge watch the TV shows. Netflix had its competitors such as Hulu but Hulu had advertisement in their videos. Another advantage that Netflix had was its expansion outside of the United States. Netflix is available in other countries such as Canada, UK, and Mexico.

To get even more subscribers, Netflix started ordering its own shows. Shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” have received many Primetime Emmy Award nominations. So what was the difference between the shows ordered by Netflix and shows shown on TV? The opportunity to watch the entire season is one of the many reasons. Television shows would have one episode each week, with commercial breaks and hiatus during breaks such as winter and summer. Netflix’s shows would release the entire season so subscribers could binge watch the entire season or watch a couple episodes a day without waiting until the next week.

I believe Netflix follows both a democratic and authoritarian political arraignment. It is democratic because subscribers get to choose whether they want the service or not. . If you don’t like it anymore, you can cancel your subscription. Also, Netflix is not the only streaming site that people have to subscribe. People can choose between different streaming sites or watching TV shows and movies the old fashioned way, television or buying the DVD. It is also authoritarian because if you do subscribe you would have to pay for a whole month. One would be stuck with Netflix for at least a month. It is also authoritarian in the video industry. It was able to cause many video stores to go bankrupt. I think that Netflix disrupted different industries but at the same time reinforce other industries. Video stores and DVD industries have died because of it but many new industries in the technological world have benefitted from Netflix. Netflix also reinforces communities and families by having a streaming site that can be shared with other family members. It created a new industry and the creative writing of movies and shows without needing to be in Hollywood. It made an online community. At the same time, it has disrupted international governances because Netflix is not available in every single country so some would buy a VNP or use programs to change the country they are in.

So what is the future for television? Netflix has an answer. According to an article from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky, Netflix believes that in 2025 televisions will have 48 million tv channels, more smaller shows that makes up Internet TV, commercials will die out, everyone will have a Smart TV, and live sports will probably be on Netflix. That is saying how much bigger Netflix is planning on growing. Netflix is known for not having commercials and as the personalization technology improves, it will be able to know what movies and TV shows, subscribers want to watch which will create 48 million TV channels. Netflix being a streaming site, it requires internet. With more and more Smart TVs in the market, people will switch to them in order to watch Netflix everywhere, from your laptop, tablet, and now TV.

In conclusion and just like how the article from Business Insiders say: Netflix started as a simple mail-in DVD service to now a powerful streaming site and with original shows. Netflix was able to expand quickly from 1997 to now. It was able to change the video industry. It created a new way to watch television. And even with competitors such as Amazon and Hulu, Netflix was able to stay on top.

Footnotes:

  1. Issie Lapowsky, “What television Will Look Like in 2025, According to Netflix”. Wired. May 19, 2014. http://www.wired.com/2014/05/neil-hunt/
  2. Veronique Dupont, AFP, “Netflix Has Revolutionized The TV Industry Several Times In Just 17 Years”. Business Insider. September 12, 2014. http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-netflix-the-revolution-that-changed-the-us-tv-landscape-2014-9
  3. Image: Netflix Logo. http://www.ranklogos.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/netflix_logo.jpeg