New media have changed the entertainment industry, and Netflix is taking the lead. With the emergence of these online television and movie content aggregators, people aren’t watching television anymore. To clarify, they aren’t watching television programming on TVs or on a show’s original air date. People are watching at their leisure, either with a DVR or a streaming service.
There is something liberating about being able to watch a show at your leisure. Some stockpile shows in a DVR, while others wait for a release on Netflix or Hulu Plus. According to Statistic Brain, Netflix members have watched a collective 2 billion hours of content.
While anyone with a DVR, or even old school people with VCRs, can record shows to watch later, services like Netflix and Hulu offer more. Netflix has offered unorthodox content like live Broadway theater productions. Hulu developed a pop culture news show in January 2011 called “The Morning After.” Broadcasts were available early in the morning, contained sharp wit on the previous evening’s entertainment news and were condensed to about six minutes an episode.
In March 2011 Hulu launched a drama series starring Kiefer Sutherland and John Hurt called “The Confession,” produced in 10 mini-sodes. Hulu stays unique in the Netflix-dominated marketplace by offering movies from the Criterion Collection and many BBC television series.
Netflix changed everything in 2013. With the success of “House of Cards,” a political drama starring Kevin Spacey, it set a new precedent for entertainment. Viewers are willing to watch a full season of a show a few episodes at a time. This stretches the boundaries of the traditional model. In this same year another original series, “Orange Is the New Black,” and a continuation of “Arrested Development,” have been critically acclaimed.
Stand-up comedy has always been a form of entertainment on the fringes of broadcast television. Network television comedy specials are very rare, and it is hard to comb through content watching Comedy Central all day. Netflix has a rather large library of comedy specials, and in September 2013 it announced the production of original comedy specials featuring Russell Peters, Aziz Ansari and Marc Maron.
Overall, if you are an entertainment provider it isn’t enough to provide content to one platform anymore. New media have changed the way the world consumes entertainment, and services like Netflix are only going to grow in the future.