19 December 2013

NETFLIX IS THE NEW BLACK

LAST UPDATED: 08/31/2015
On Netflix at the end of January will be the six-years-in-the-making documentary, "MITT." Yes, Netflix. And yes, Governor and former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

While the thought of a reality show of the Romney's is fun in and of itself, the idea that Netflix is behind this is like extra cinnamon for that egg nog. From scenes in the trailer, though, it's a shame we didn't see more of this Romney Family back in 2012. They actually seem fun and real... Mitt especially.

The real headline about "Mitt," however, is Netflix.

Years ago, when they introduced instant streaming, Netflix became the ultimate enabler of binge viewing as people (those unwilling to get embroiled in all that bit torrent downloading bullshit, at least) suddenly found themselves netflicking their way through many Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays...

With the release of quality original programming like "House of Cards," "Orange is the New Black," the new "Arrested Development," and now this historic documentary, Netflix is again making history. This time, though, what Netflix (and Amazon, which has also begun to release original shows, "Alpha House" being the most notable) is attempting to do also happens to have the support of millions and millions of consumers. These customers - I am one among them - are simply ready for an endless stream of great television.

For too long, the enigmatic cable television framework has gone unchallenged, with customers usually left paying impossibly high subscription fees, regardless of how much or little television is actually consumed. As Netflix takes its rightful place in the evolving entertainment market, let the supporters of the status quo be on notice. Change is inevitable.

The current providers must decide if they will be part of the solution or not. Here's a thought: how about offering fully customizable subscription packages instead of forcing us to subscribe to 500 channels that we never watch? This suggestion wouldn't sound so revolutionary if cable providers only recognized what has been true for about a decade: that consumers - now more than ever - are demanding more accountability for goods and service dollars spent.

We are well into the 21st Century. It only makes sense that new and improved "norms" are emerging. The speed of adoption depends almost entirely on us and on our ability to shed our 20th Century habits, without looking back.

However this develops in the coming years, though, right now, we can and should all be sending one simple message to Netflix (and all challengers of the status quo): Thank you and more, please.

UPDATE 01/20/14: Check out this piece in Variety, about a rising Netflix: As Netflix Rises, HBO and Showtime Subscribers Shrink as Percentage of U.S. Households. And for "Orange" fans, this piece is for you... Orange is the New Black season 2 Netflix release date near as final scenes photos posted by actor Matt McGorry.

UPDATE 01/22/14: Something interesting from Huffington Post... Netflix is apparently considering a change in its pricing structure. Tread lightly, Netflix. Current customers would be forgiving as long as there is a direct link to what we are actually paying for. (SOURCE)

UPDATE 04/18/15 : Finally, Verizon is the first of the cable service providers to offer less expensive "slimmer" service bundles, which come closer to letting consumers pay only for channels they watch. This, along with recent news from HBO that it will offer stand alone streaming service, is all great news for those sick of paying a small fortune for television.

UPDATE 08/31/15 : Nice piece from the Washington Post about some significant changes at Netflix. Netflix continues to turn itself gradually into something else... and changes an industry in its wake.