Recently, Toronto Star Columnist David Olive, wrote a compelling piece of the viability of Netflix as a contemporary broadcaster and on the empowerment that it has provided users in regards to choice and voice. In understanding that Netflix’s popularity is grounded in the user experience, it’s original programming that includes “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Helmlock Grove” and the re-birth of “Arrested Development” illustrates that audience taste and consumption dictates not only Netflix in house production but importantly the curating of a content library – the Hollywood, TV and Indie Catalog that Netlflix provides. So, why does Netflix matter – what does the Netflix revolution say about who we are has 21st century consumers?
Simple – we are consumers within a framework of instant access want control over our experience. The audience of today, want control over where they access, when they access, what they access and how they share and build a community based on their likes and interests. The day of the traditional broadcaster, as dictated in David Olives article, is dead and Netflix is responsible for demolishing it. The industrial model of broadcasting, is fast fading – the history of television and its political roots are slowly dying and becoming irrelevant in a time of popular creation. Content, within a particular ideological lens, was projected down to the an audience. The audience received content based on a pre-established schedule and simply consumed – the audience did not have a voice and was held hostage to the “controlled” framework of communication. This has now changed. Netlfix, like Wikepedia, iTunes U and Google, provide access to content based on demand – breaking away from traditional modes of broadcast delivery.
Some may say that Netflix still controls because its library is curated. However, this thinking fails to realize that Netflix curates based on viewership and audience taste. The more horror films viewers watch, equates to a growing horror library – content is not massaged to suit advertisers and government funding rhetoric .
The question is, where does Netflix go from here? As shared via Rotten Tomatoes recently, Netflix is moving into producing in house big budget theatrical films that would play in the multiplex and premiere on Netflix at the same time – a day to day release. So, what after that? Perhaps, the next natural step is for Netflix to include a subscriber library – short films produced and submitted by viewers. That would represent the evolution of choice – and transcend viewers from consumers to producers.
Let the revolution continue.