Friday, February 28, 2014

Netflix Revolution

Netflix Revolution

Netflix is revolutionizing television culture and is making a case that cable is no longer a necessity. People enjoy watching television shows, they like it more when they can watch whatever episode they want whenever they want. That is what Netflix offers consumers. There are already statistics showing that cable subscribers are on the downfall. It is only a matter of time until cable, like VHS, is old news. Netflix is all-around winning viewers over: there is a monetary incentive, exclusive content, and a different viewing experience that people love about streaming Netflix.
            Financially, Netflix is a better option for people who watch television. It is far more costly to have cable services than it is to pay a small rate each month for Netflix. American cable subscribers pay around $80 for a subscription a month; Netflix costs about $10. (Is Netflix, 2013) Many people are now buying smart televisions or Internet connected televisions, which come with Netflix built into the TV. One would still need a subscription, but this shows that Netflix is becoming very prevalent. “’Cord nevers,’ are youngsters who start their own households without a cable subscription, and who may never get one.” (Is Netflix, 2013) I may very well be a “cord never.” Currently having Netflix and using it excessively, it is hard for me to divvy up the money to pay for cable when I get most of the shows I want already. People like me are going to continue the decline in cable subscriptions. Craig Moffett, an analyst who covers the sector, “reckons that around 900,000 households in America have cut the cord on pay-TV.” (Is Netflix, 201) Cable viewing is clearly diminishing; it will be interesting to see if cable can do anything to slow down this trend.
          House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Lillyhammer, and Arrested Development. Instead of regularly airing episodes every week, per usual, Netflix altered the norm. Netflix now releases all episodes at one time for viewers to watch on their own time. Another deviation from the norm is that Netflix shows do not follow a specific time frame for each episode. Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix says, “If you watched Arrested Development none of those episodes has the same running time – some were 28 minutes, some 47 minutes. I’m saying take as much time as you need to tell the story well. You couldn’t really do that on linear television because you have a grid, commercial breaks and the like.” (Jeffries, 2013) Netflix including their own shows really added something special to their video service. Now, not only can you watch your favorite television shows on Netflix, but you can also watch exclusive shows only released to the “lucky” people of Netflix.

  Netflix really jumped ahead of the pack when it started creating and releasing it own television series’. A few of the series’ that are exclusive to Netflix are
            The biggest reason Netflix is as successful and popular as it is, is due to its different viewing experience in comparison to regular television. With regular television you are confined to the area of the television, there are time frames, other shows competing against each other, and the want to watch more of your favorite shows. Ted Sarandos saw that people always wanted to watch more of a show that they were enjoying. Sarandos says, “before, they (people) would use VCRs to collect episodes and view them whenever they wanted. And, more importantly, in whatever doses they wanted. Then DVD box sets and later DVRs made that self-dosing even more sophisticated.” (Jeffries, 2013) Sarandos believes he is just fulfilling people’s insatiable need to watch their favorite show.
This insatiable need to watch shows has lead to the creation of binge watching. In essence, Netflix allows their customers to watch their favorite show from episode one until the last episode in one sitting. That may be a little dramatic, but it does help paint a picture of how viewing habits have changed due to Netflix.  This, plus the ability to watch Netflix wherever you are: home, car, airport, school, and work can lead to very interesting and addictive viewing habits.

Netflix uses specific algorithms in order to determine taste preferences and collect data. John Jurgensen writes, “Executives say they found a strikingly consistent pattern in the pace at which people binge: In general, about half the viewers studied finished a season (up to 22 episodes) within one week.” (Jurgensen, 2013) That is a lot of television viewing and a major reason why people prefer having the whole season released at once. Ted Sarandos said, “Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace.” (Jurgensen, 2013) It seems clear that the majority of people love how Netflix is revolutionizing the way they watch television.
            Cable has a tough fight ahead of itself, but the future is not entirely grim. Cable has been smart in that it does not allow consumers to watch current episodes; those are released on cable first and then later added onto Netflix when the season is over. Cable also still has the rights to sporting events which many cable users, myself included, use on a regular basis.
            Cable is going to have to thrive on sports and special events. Ted Sarandos believes, “Broadcast television will become more event based. When I was growing up, on Friday night Evel Knieval would be jumping things and we’d be waiting to see if he died. Just a couple weeks ago, Discovery channel broadcasted a guy tight-rope walking across the Grand Canyon and they got their biggest ratings ever.” (Jeffries, 2013). Many sport networks still do very well because those are events people want to watch. When regular television can be skipped to watch later, there is no need to stop important tasks to view your show live. 
            Netflix is all-around winning consumers over: there is a monetary incentive, exclusive content, and a different viewing experience that people love about streaming Netflix. They are revolutionizing television to fit into every person’s own personal schedule, style (binge viewing), and environment. Cable has taken the right steps to slow down the takeover process, but it may just be a matter of time. Netflix fits the needs of all television viewers, so if one has not jumped on the bandwagon yet, it might be time for them to reconsider.


Is Netflix Killing Cable Television. 2013. The Economist. 26 August, 2013.

Jeffries, Stuart. 2013. Netflix’s Ted Sarandos: The ‘Evil Genius’ Behind a TV Revolution. The Guardian 30 December, 2013.

Jurgensen, John. 2013. Streaming: Netflix Studies Heavy Viewing Habits: The Binge Project. The Wall Street Journal. 13 December, 2013. Retrieved from

Manly, Lorne. 2013. Jenji Kohan, 44 The Televisionary. The New York Times. 29 December, 2013. Retrieved from


  1. I think you make an interesting and truthful argument about the rise of Netflix and it's impact on cable. I enjoy being able to watch many different shows at any given time, and at any pace that I please, with Netflix. Like you said, a lot of people would rather have access to all of the episodes of a particular show, instead of having to wait for the next episode to air on cable. And with the price of Netflix being much cheaper than cable, it's no wonder people would rather drop their cable subscription and subscribe to Netflix instead. Netflix is definitely changing the way people watch TV.

  2. This was a very interesting blog. I myself have been using Netflix for years, but I do get frustrated with them at times. They definitely do not release very many movies often. It usually takes a while for a movie to hit Netflix and I find myself searching through the same movies day after day. I would like to see Netflix release better movies or offer a suggestion box on people's accounts. I definitely think they have been very smart in releasing Arrested Development, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black because they are trying to compete with HBO GO by doing this and so far it is successful. One thing Netflix needs to worry about by releasing everything all at once is their churn rating. Some people may binge consume it all at once and then cancel their subscription until a new season comes out which can be problematic for them. I do think that cable will be fine because of sports too. Americans consume massive amounts of sports and are sold so much advertising too. One thing to question is whether or not Netflix eventually becomes flooded with advertisements because of cable declines. I doubt they will anytime soon because they get a ton of money from subscribers anyway that they don't really need the extra cash. I would say that Netflix is 3 for 3 in their original shows for Arrested Development, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black. They are all awesome and definitely require you to binge watch because you want more. I personally have cable and Netflix because I love sports, but I also love all the media segmented niche markets that give me exactly what I want. Netflix can be limiting at times and I use cable as my fallback.

  3. I don't watch TV that often, but when I do, I really only use Netflix. It's just a lot more convenient, although they sometimes lack on movie selections. Netflix is so easy due to it's flexibility and availability to the viewer. Also, I agree, one of the things that makes them successful are their shows specific to only Netflix. Netflix has changed the way people watch TV and cable seems to be falling a little behind.

  4. I think it is interesting you chose to write about this topic. I rarely watch television, but I am an avid Netflix viewer. It is a lot more convenient and I do not have to worry about have a recording device to watch shows that I am not available at during the showing times. I never thought Netflix would decline the sales of cable though. With Netflix now creating their own series that have huge success rates, the only thing missing on Netflix is news. I think a reason people still buy cable today is to get up-to-date news right away. I wonder if Netflix will ever create a news station on their site. If they did, I think cable rates would decline very quickly due to the fact Netflix would have almost everything to offer.

  5. This post explained well about how Netflix is growing against the cable television industries. Since I came from the South Korea, understanding the streaming service in US is quite hard, but this post pointed out what Netflix is distinct with other media, which helps me to understand its strength. It is definite that people will no longer want stupid set top box on their TV shelves. Growing distribution of the smart TV also threatens the survival of cable industries. The only thing they can survive in this atmosphere is making the slick platform to deal with this issue, like Hulu.

  6. As another Netflix user, I completely agree about the ways in which it has changed how we watch television. Just the other night I watched four hours straight so that I could write my blog! You present an interesting view that cable will soon be "old news", yet may still sustain itself with sports and special events. What about the ability to stream sports online as well? Would that have any impact, or does the communal nature of sports require that we keep our cable boxes? (I don't watch sports, streaming them online is a thing, right?) I guess we will see how soon cable is replaced with the magic of satellite TVs for all.

  7. I definetely love my netflix and i watch it all the time. I am more likely to watch netflix then the actual cable so i agree that is has changed the way people watch televison also. I've never really thought about how netflix could affect the cable industries and the negative affects it will have on cable. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out as netflix gets more and more popular.

  8. I love the term binge watching! I feel that applies to practically all Netflix viewers. It made me really think how Netflix is changing lifestyles. It just goes to show the power media can have on us...which is kind of scary too! I also believe that Netflix is a generational phenomenon--that young adults & people our age are the TV show watchers and our parents are more of the movie lovers--it would have been interesting to possibly get some kind of stats on who watches Netflix, the demographic of its audience, and whatnot. I do believe that Netflix has a wide range of shows (kids, adult, romance, comedy, TV, etc.) however there are definite limitations within its systems. I also have noticed cross media acknowledgments of Netflix such as memes, pictures on Fb, twitter/Fb statuses which would be interesting to explore too. All in all I loved this piece and think it was written very well!

  9. Netflix has really revolutionized the way Americans watch television today. Instead of choosing from a list of 50 shows that are on air at the time of viewing, a person now has the ability to watch any show at any time! This really changes the way we interpret television because with the option to watch what we want, when we want, we are also restricted by the shows we believe we wouldn't like. Unlike television in the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s, we pick the shows we believe cater to our needs as opposed to trying out different shows that we might like but never get the chance to watch. This hinders Americans ability to learn from shows they believe they have little in common with.


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