Netflix: Manipulating media

Netflix: Manipulating media

Adler Bowman, features editor

No cursing between 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. Comedies are 30 minutes, dramas must be double that. This sounds strict, but these are the regulations the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has forced upon every network television program since the birth of TV. Until now. Netflix, as it develops original content liberated from network barriers, is reshaping the way we consume media.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently announced their plans to spend $6-7 billion on original programming for the upcoming year. This budget is not only six times larger than Apple’s planned spending in the next year, but it also exceeds that of competitors such as HBO, Amazon and Hulu. For the last decade, Netflix has paid other companies to license their content, usually after it came out in movie theaters. By creating its own programs, the company bypasses competition from other media companies and creates their own rules regarding genre, language, episode length. Devan Coggan, correspondent at Entertainment Weekly, believes the large budget will benefit Netflix from a business standpoint.

“They don’t have to keep renewing licenses and negotiating with Disney or television studios,” Coggan said. “They can fund creators no one has heard of, such as the Duffer brothers, the minds behind ‘Stranger Things,’ and get a huge hit. They’re being creative and taking risks in a way that’s really interesting.”

“Stranger Things” and other Netflix original shows such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black”, and “Master of None” have received extensive recognition. Other streaming services such as Amazon and Hulu have also released their own content. Coggan predicts because every media company is producing their own content, the common household will have to sign up for dozens of streaming services if they want to watch Disney movies, Universal movies, Warner Brothers movies, and more from each separate company.

“I’m worried we’re going to see fractional divides,” Coggan said. “You’ll only be able to watch Netflix-owned movies on Netflix and the costs will add up to an unreasonable amount.”

As various streaming services become more prevalent in today’s world, methods in which we receive our entertainment are rapidly developing. The recent concept of binge-watching is now commonplace. Releases of entire seasons all at once become a big event, erasing the old-school method of letting a story unfold week by week and destroying the viewers’ ability to converse and theorize. Lilly Schlarman, junior, along with 85.29 percent (174/204) of KHS students, prefers binge-watching to weekly network programs .

“I like having access to all the episodes at once,” Schlarman said. “The plot is easier to follow and the character development can be more complex without being too confusing.”

Recent developments in television bring light to the fact that as we transition to a different medium, the art itself changes. Without a set of rules, there is no limit to how outlandish television series and movies can become. As it continues to draw more attention, Netflix is expected to report a more than 25 percent increase in sales for 2017 according to CNN. Through original series and movies, Netflix hopes to draw in more. As of now, 86.60 percent (181/209) of KHS students have a Netflix subscription in their home.

“We’re living in a really interesting period of time,” Coggan said. “Culture is changing quickly and the near future holds a lot of unknowns.”