Netflix and Internet TV

Today, when I think about wanting to watch my favorite shows, the idea of catching the latest episode on broadcast television is entirely unappealing. Enter Netflix, a company whose focus over the years has shifted from DVD rental by mail to instant streaming of digital video.

Netflix has changed millions of viewers television experience, allowing you to have access to your shows and movies whenever you want to watch them. Why wait each week for the next episode when you can watch entire seasons back to back on your own time?

Netflix lets the viewer be more interactive in their experience, an important feature in forms of new media. (Manovich, 2002) We get to add things to our instant queue, choose when to watch our shows, give them a rating that everyone can see, etc. All of these things make Netflix all the more attractive to the viewer.

It is also an excellent example of the way that media has changed even over the last ten years. Netflix’s original purpose when founded in 1997 was to provide DVD rental without late fees like other companies that existed at the time. Now, 16 years later, their main focus has shifted to digital streaming almost entirely. The move towards digital access to everything has become the norm for most media in the US, and Netflix is following the trend.

Netflix service has another feature that is key in new media, which is the ability to customize, or more their ability to track your behavior and cater to your interests. (Manovich, 2002) Like the banner ads that pop up on our Facebook newsfeeds, Netflix can track your watching habits and suggest other things you might like.

This move into a more customized experience can be viewed as both creepy and innovative. Whether this tactic is effective only time will tell, but for a company like Netflix the more shows they can convince to you instant queue, the better.

Manovich, Lev. (2002). The Language of New Media. Massachusets: Leonardo Books


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