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#On Netflix and the Future of TV Series

I read last week that Netflix has an information on when viewers get hooked up with a series. According to the information, viewers get hooked up to a series when watching episodes between two and eight (Kastrenakes, 2015). At first I raised my eyebrows, but then I thought about it again. Indeed, when I recently started to watch Orange is the New Black (I am on third season now even though it has been less than two weeks since I started to watch the series), I got hooked up in the second episode when I realised the series will clearly have a focus on a variety of human experiences and destinies. Given my degree in sociology and strong interest for human behaviour and representation in the popular culture, I was obviously hooked up quite easily.

 

On the other hand, with series Heroes I also enjoyed on Netflix, I got totally hooked up somewhere around eight episode when I realised there will be lots of supra natural stuff and lots of time travelling. I absolutely love time travelling and supra natural stuff, so I obviously gave this series a chance.

 

 

However, this discussion also leads me to comment that the decision on whether we drop out or not also depends on the story of the series. For example, if the series is on time travelling or a social series like the Orange is the New Black I will clearly stay with it even if it gets slow, because these are my favourite topics for series. Towards the end of Heroes Claire was doing my head in but I still completed the series to see how it ends. I did not watch all Netflix series ever made to make a fully informed comment, but what I have watched so far, my three favourite series would definitely be,

  1. Orange is the New Black (sociologist, can’t help it)
  2. Stranger Things (supra natural stuff and the 1980s style; totally me)
  3. Heroes (time travelling; can’t miss that)

 

This list may change as I watch more programme on Netflix, but one thing is for sure. Netflix certainly gets me.

However, this also brings a question on the future of TV, which I discussed in one of my previous blogs where I commented on the rise of mobile use in the UK, and asked what that means for agenda setting of the mass media (Topić, 2016). The Internet TV is certainly a competitor to the linear TV, because we all love to watch our favourite programme when the time is convenient for us, and without having to think whether we will miss an episode. For true TV series lovers, this also means they can watch more than one episode at once. As pointed out by Netflix (2016), “changes of this magnitude are rare.  Radio was the dominant home entertainment media for nearly 50 years until linear TV took over in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Linear video in the home was a huge advance over radio, and very large firms emerged to meet consumer desires over the last 60 years.  The new era of Internet TV is likely to be very big and enduring also, given the flexibility and ubiquity of the Internet around the world”.

But, some claim otherwise. For example, FX Networks claims that people watch less programme, which means that programme needs to be revised to decrease the number of series and not that Internet TV is jeopardizing traditional TV (Jones, n.d.). Nevertheless, figures for now testify otherwise and the popularity of TV series is still there. It is enough to think of series such as Friends that are broadcast up to the present day despite the fact official airing of the 10th season ended in 2004 (Topić, 2016a) and the constantly updated lists of best TV series offering viewers instant queue and ability to vote (see e.g. here).

References

Jones, A. (n.d.). Why Netflix And FX Fundamentally Disagree About The Future Of TV. Available at: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/Why-Netflix-FX-Fundamentally-Disagree-About-Future-TV-92657.html (Accessed 27 September 2016)

Kastrenakes, J. (2015). Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/23/9381509/netflix-hooked-tv-episode-analysis (Accessed 27 September 2016 Netflix)

Netflix (2016). Netflix’s View: Internet TV is replacing linear TT. Available at:  https://ir.netflix.com/long-term-view.cfm (Accessed 27 September 2016)

Topić, M. (2016). On the Future of TV in the UK. Available at: http://martinatopic.com/2016/05/11/the-future-of-tv-in-the-uk/ (Accessed 27 September 2016)

Topić, M. (2016a). “Do you even understand what off the rack means?”- Americanization and Jewish Identities in the Television series ‘Friends’. Accepted for publication in International Journal of Religion and Society.

 

 

 

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