Friday, January 20, 2017

Let's Call It The Netflix Effect

Top notch image editing this is!

Okay, maybe "Netflix Effect" has already taken, but the definitions are varied depending on which site/source you are reading, so until I come up with something a little catchier, we will stick with what I have here.  But honestly, if someone had not already coined the term "The Netflix Effect," I would be very disappointed with the state of the Internet having already landed on Boaty McBoatface before "The Netflix Effect."  But it has already happened and we are going to stick with it, so moving on.

So what I specifically mean by "The Netflix Effect" is more an observation that the criticism that it could very well come across as.  

Growing up in the 1980s and '90s was the golden era of VHS rental stores (Blockbuster, Mr. Video, Hollywood Video, Placer TV/Video, 49er Video) who would often receive copies of movies four to six months after they were released in theatres and up to six months before they were released to the greater public at large.  I recall back in the fall of 1991, the local Blockbuster selling some of their first rental copies of Terminator 2 for $99 since the movie would not be released until after Christmas and $99 is (about) what studios/distributors would charge to movie rental agencies for each individual VHS copy that they would rent out.  The prevailing mentality at the time was that, at least for me and probably my family, was that if you wanted to rent a movie more than once (being anywhere from $1.99 - $4.99 for a single rental) then you would just go out and buy the movie once it became available.  Plus, buying a physical copy of the movie was the second best way of telling a studio that you liked the movie and wanted more media in that vain.

Jump ahead to the Fall 1999 when The Matrix was released on DVD (and the video store I worked at thought that Titanic would be a better option to determine if DVD rentals and sales would be profitable rather than getting The Matrix) and DVD rentals would cost usually a dollar or two more since the format was more expensive than VHS; plus DVDs were the in-thing.  This meant that being able to view all of the special features (back when DVD rentals were not designed to be special feature free, and you had to specify if you wanted the "Formatted to Fit Your Screen" or "Widescreen"), assuming that the DVD even had special features that did not require reading, would often mean renting the movie more than once if you did not live in a household that had more than one TV and more than one DVD player.  This again meant that buying the DVD would, in the long run make more sense than trying to rent the movie more than two times; around this time, DVDs were typically between $19.99 and $29.99 for a single disc film/TV show.

So buying VHS and DVD movies was very much a thing in my house, especially since we did not have cable (therefore, no On Demand videos either), so if anyone wanted to watch a movie at that moment, it meant putting on a movie that was already in our collection and if you did not want to watch the same ten movies over and over, it meant having a library of movies to choose from.  This mentality is something that I have maintained over the years, buying movies (now on Blu-ray) if I like the movie enough to want to rewatch it, and assuming that there are a significant number of special features (or just a commentary would suffice too).

Jump ahead to now, 2017 where we have Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Red (not RedTube, which is something somewhat different, although the format is pretty similar), Amazon Prime Video, or any other movie streaming service that I have failed to mention.  If Conklederp or I want to watch a movie, our first go to is Netflix Instantwatch.  Unless there is a specific movie that I already have on the shelf, we will go looking online for a film that one of us has yet to see.  Netflix puts out new movies (maybe not new new movies, but updates their library) each month which gives us new options for what to put on at night.  Additionally, with so many older-ish TV shows that either Conklederp or I had never seen until recently we find ourselves with literally hundreds of hours of programs that we want to start/finish and by the time we are done with one series, we will either find a new show or Netflix/Amazon will release a slough of movies/TV shows that we have not seen.

Because of this infinitely increasing amount of content, over the last couple of years I have pulled back from buying movies in part because I know that I am not only less likely to re-watch them, again partly because of Conklederp's tendency to not re-watch movies with a significantly less frequency that I tend to do, but also because of the vast array of options we have for watching movies.  Sure there are times when I just feel like watching a particular movie or TV show and it is just easier to pop in a NewsRadio Season 2 disc 1 rather than trying to find out which streaming service has NewsRadio.

I thought too about how The Netflix Effect affects CD/music purchases, but that one might be a little more complicated and probably hearkens back to something more akin to The Napster Effect, so let us not linger with music and stick with movies, TV shows and the like.

So I would define The Netflix Effect as the slowing down of buying physical movie and TV show discs in place of  a massively expanded library to choose from as a direct result of the many streaming options currently at the public's disposal.

That is all I have for today.

To Become The Pagan They Would Hunt

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