Netflix and Streaming: How Television is Changing
Pretty much every family has a certain time where they sit down in front of the TV and watch a show together. It could be any show but almost every family has this, but with the rise of the internet the way we watch and view our shows is changing. Nowadays we have streaming sites like Netflix and Stan, as well as many viewers resorting to torrents or streaming to catch up on their favourite shows. On top of all this, there are gaming companies delving into the world of producing original series and shows based off other franchises. But does this mean that television is dying out?
An article that appeared in Time, entitled ‘Americans Are Watching More Streaming Video and Less Live TV’, discusses the percentage of people that watch shows online in the United States. The article states:
The report shows that more than 40% of American homes used a streaming service as of November 2014 and 13% of U.S. homes had multiple streaming services. Overall, American adults spent four hours and 51 minutes watching live TV in 2014, which is down from the five hours and four minutes they watched in the same period in 2013.
This article shows that more and more people are turning to streaming services, but at the same time still watching a fair bit of TV on the television as well. But why have people moved to the internet for their shows?
It seems to be that ease of access is the main reason viewers are moving away from their TV and towards the internet. No longer is the television the easiest source to find the shows you want. Because everything is scheduled the only times you can watch your favourite shows is in a certain time frame. This is often at night, with the possibility of a repeat sometime throughout the week. However, the internet offers an unlimited time to view the show as well as offers the show without advertisements, another tempting offer for viewers. Where a person is situated also affects how they view each show, for example Australia does not get all the shows the United States does. On top of this when the show does air, it is often after half a season or so has aired in the United States. This is why torrents and streaming are so popular, people don’t want to have to wait for new shows that other countries already have. There are legal options for this, sites like Stan or programs like Foxtel, but these are all paid for and sometimes that can get expensive. For those who can’t afford it, streaming becomes a more viable option, taking away from the show’s viewership.
Because of this ease of access it seems that nowadays, the internet is paving the way for the future of television. Netflix has been around for years and is now producing its own original content including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Some of their content is even gaining huge popularity, millions of people waiting for each season. On top of this other companies are siding with Netflix to produce original series. A sign of such faith is Marvel, one of the biggest companies worldwide, placing a deal to create five new TV shows with the company. The reason why this method of producing shows is becoming increasingly popular is because of its mode of release. Rather than wait weekly for new episodes, viewers can watch every episode the day the show is released. This allows viewers to participate in the popular trend of binge-watching, watching many episodes straight. For viewers this mean there is no need to wait for shows it is all there in its complete state and won’t be changed or altered. Another reason is that producers do not have to worry about ratings for their shows, success and future seasons are based solely upon content and production, the worth of the show.
Now gaming networks are getting in on the action. The PlayStation Network (PSN) just released its first live- action series, Powers. The show is free for the first three episodes to all PSN users and then a subscription must be brought for the remaining seven episodes. Xbox also had their first streaming show at the end of last year with Halo: Nightfall, which also links in with the future Halo 5. On top of this they have a list of shows that they are producing and releasing in the years to come, as well as creating a game called Quantum Break which is to release with a TV show based off the game. A smaller game company, Telltale Games, is planning on releasing, what they are calling a ‘super-show’ later this year, in which it is a mix of television and interactive story telling like their famous episodic games. All of this is a new direction for the face of television and is helping to produce more original content and provide jobs for the future.
The rise of these such sites also means their is more room for diversity amongst television shows. Shows that typically would get less view can be created and released on these platforms outside of television. This means that more shows could be genred and that their can be more unique show being released each year. The advance of online viewing leaves room for a lot of creative diversity, even on a small budget a show could be produced and watched by thousands. The shows mentioned above, Halo: Nightfall and Powers, may not have been released if it wasn’t for these new ways of producing shows.
So is television dying out or not? This all seems like an advance on the way in which we watch things, but it does offer many benefits to everyone. First of all it offers more jobs to those in the industry, as well as more chances to provide and create original content. On top of this, it gives the viewer time to watch and catch up on shows that they otherwise would not be able to view. Viewers are still watching their TV’s when they can; it is only due a lack of time that torrents and streaming are becoming more popular. If anything this is an exciting time for viewers of TV, as more and more original content is being produced with a faster release rate. It doesn’t seem like TV is dying out anytime soon, but the internet is increasingly becoming a more popular option for viewers.
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