Binge-Watching… Is it worthy enough?

In my experience, Netflix has always been a key important factor for allowing myself to watch as much television as I would like, without any commercials. I think this is key in the new-era of technology we are living in. The engagement with Frank Underwood I think is key as you can tell much of the show revolves around him. There are other characters of course that also caught my eye. Characters like Paul Russo and Zoe Barnes seem to be also a focal point throughout these first six episodes. One thing I think to be interesting and that I seem to like, is when House of Cards does this thing with Frank, they pause everything around him, and he gives a little 15-30 second statement about what he thinks is going on. I think this helps in the storytelling and allows the viewer to fully indulge themselves into the show. As McCormick says, “This hail to binge-viewing represents a drastic shift in TV distribution: by releasing thirteen episodes at once, House of Cards invites, its viewers to fully immerse themselves in the narrative world and allow the storytelling momentum to take hold” (pg. 101). I think that Netflix was one of the first pioneers to allow access to streaming TV shows online and this way of binge-watching has only helped them in their success. This was not my first time binge-watching House of Cards, this was actually my fourth time watching it. When I first watched it, I definitely think that I was caught in the Netflix trap of binge-watching their first original series. This most recent time, I think it was easier to not get caught in the binge trap, as once the six episodes were over, I went on with my day, not watching anymore episodes. I did though watch the episodes from my TV but I do believe that I was still able to sort of “screen intimacy.” One thing that I do when I watch Netflix, is that I have the subtitles turned on, this allows me to read what is being said while also watching it, I think this also preserves some sort of screen intimacy. I think it would be interesting to dive into the show House of Cards, the political climate seems to be similar with the one we live in now.

With the show calling its episodes “chapters”, I think it wants to grasp this idea that there is not only an overall plot to each season, each episode represents its own story within the overall story. This is something Netflix has noticed that has helped them gain more viewership and expand its business. While yes of course there is an overall storyline to the show, each episode seems to have its own plot while also in a way, connect to the overall plot of that season. I agree with both authors that binge-watching television can be good and bad for you. It certainly can be productive and a transformative mode of viewing, but I can definitely see how it can be an isolating experience. With binge-watching, I have noticed that I can get lost within a show for hours on end, I think this is something that we have been able to gain access to with the expansion of the internet. Many viewers of Netflix are binge-watching their shows in such fashion like the use of social media, that I can see how it could cause feelings like loneliness, depression, and anxiety. While binge-watching shows like House of Cards, we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to go out and explore the world like having social interaction with friends or going on adventures. While I do see the bad effects that binge-watching could possibly have, I think I have fallen into the binge trap and will most likely binge-watch my TV shows because I like just being able to start something, and finish it not too long after I have started it.

Netflix Thriving

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Netflix is in fierce competition with other media companies to gain as many subscribers as they can, worldwide. Early in its time, Netflix was a small online movie rental service. The accessibility that it provided was unheard of in its time. You could simply go online and just order a DVD directly to your house, without ever having to leave, something Blockbuster had not yet thought of.

With the expansion of the internet, Netflix has seemed to thrive while Blockbuster seemed to fail early on. Netflix was the first major media company to rely solely on the use of internet access while in regard to its customers. Blockbuster was a company that was in a way land locked with only allowing access to its catalog by going directly in-store. This was holding blockbuster back from gaining younger consumers as people were adjusting with the expansion of the internet. It seemed as Netflix understood what was needed for the future since Blockbuster was going to become a thing of the past, this is something that Netflix just knew was inevitable. While Netflix was trying to find other ways to help them succeed and keep their business running, Blockbuster was going through hard times as a company. There were internal conflicts between their CEO and one of their big-time investors. With these conflicts being so distracting, Netflix knew that Blockbuster would not be able to compete. Blockbuster made a strong attempt at trying to balance the online consumers and attract more customers through their idea of “Blockbuster Online.” The amount of money they were putting into this new Blockbuster Online was an amount that they could just not simply sustain. Netflix knew that they needed to withstand their debts long enough so that they could beat Blockbuster and take over the online movie streaming game.

As time went on, Blockbuster eventually went out of business. Causing Netflix to create a monopoly in the in the streaming game. As they are transitioning with the advancement of technology and the growth of the economy, they are now making Netflix “Originals,” which is causing more growth in subscribers, bringing them over 100 million subscribers. Some of Netflix’s competitors nowadays are other streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Video-Prime, and also HBO. It has gained some advantages over its competitors in ways that no one else has yet also seemed to be gained. These advantages that they have gained are the ease of access that it has provided to its subscribers, in a world that is constantly advancing, consumers are looking for anything that will provide them for what they are looking for in the least number of steps. Also, Netflix has made it available to take it on the go, by being able to download an app just straight onto your phone. That ease of technology is something that everyone is looking for, I think that says a lot about the climate we are in as a society. We look to do things in least number of steps, anyway to get through something the easiest.

Another place we can see an expansion of streaming becoming a major player in its respective market, is streaming music. This is another aspect where we see that consumers enjoy something that they can access with ease. Netflix has become a top player in the media game and I can only see them getting bigger.