NETFLIX : THE RISE OF A GIANT
Nolwen Prince et Aïsha Philippe, Washington DC
La naissance et l’essor de Netflix : Un bouleversement majeur dans l’industrie cinématographique au cours des dix dernières années
La présence de services de streaming menace les anciennes méthodes de divertissement telles que la télévision câblée et l’industrie cinématographique. La facilité à regarder ce que l’on veut, quand on veut, où l’on veut, sans pauses commerciales et sans prix exorbitants donne l’avantage à Netflix et autres.
Netflix. One of the biggest streaming platforms known to man.
In 1997, a company that would one day revolutionize the entertainment industry took its first steps. Once a rental DVD delivery service, in 2007, Netflix transformed into the first paid streaming service. 2012 marked the beginning of Netflix’s content creation, as well as the beginning of its meteoric rise. Netflix’s revenue increased by 1387% between 2007 and 2017. So what changed? How and why has Netflix’s rise alienated cable television providers and the cinematographic industry? And with such a monumental surge, will Netflix be able to sustain its growth in the near and distant futures?
According to Leichtman Research, the number of paid Netflix subscribers surpassed that of paid cable subscribers in 2017. Today, Netflix has 58.46 million subscribers in the United States alone versus about 49 million cable users, and continues to see a daily increase. Cable TV is dying out; the majority of young adults prefer to watch video content using online platforms opposed to adults that are 50 and older.
What makes Netflix more attractive? For one, cable TV is constantly bombarding users with a variety of ads. Netflix allows consumers to watch whichever show or film they want, whenever they want, meaning that the industry is adapting to the consumers’ schedule instead of the other way around. Finally, Netflix can be installed on every device, allowing movies to be watched wherever the user wants, even without internet.
For a long time, Netflix relied on the film industry to provide it with the content that it gave its users access to. However, Netflix quickly realised it had to begin creating its own content as the movie industry began raising the prices of streaming rights in an attempt to cripple Netflix; in 2012 “Netflix Originals” were born. Their first attempt, House of Cards, was a smashing success. 2018 alone has plans to create 110 “Netflix Original” movies and television shows compared to the 20 films that Warner Bros planned, and Disney’s 12. Now, the power of the majors of the industry is contested and no longer assured.
The cinematographic industry is threatened in more ways than one. Netflix is changing the ways movies are provided, deciding to skip over the movie theatre phase and opting instead to place them directly on their online platform. This might explain why less people are going to the movie theatre. Since 2002, there has been a 21% decrease in movie tickets sold, diminishing the revenue available to Hollywood studios. This has led to a feud between Netflix and these studios who have lobbied to exclude Netflix and their creations from the film community. In 2018, the Cannes Film Festival in France banned Netflix from entering any submissions. Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix was then quoted as saying “We are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine.”
The movie industry is now implementing new tactics to make sure that people have incentive to keep going to theatres; D-BOX movie rooms have seats that move, 4D movie rooms create an interactive experience for the viewer such as temperature and lighting changes.
Netflix has proven itself to be a media giant with no plans of slowing down in the foreseeable future. It has begun to beat out one of the most influential markers of the 20th century: cable television, and poses a major threat for the future of the film industry. However, Netflix is starting to face heavier competition; Amazon Prime provides its subscribers with not only streaming but countless other benefits. In 2018, Disney announced it would begin its own streaming service, marking a specific type of retaliation from Hollywood studios : imitation. Some of Netflix’s major attractions will be removed, forcing customers to subscribe to both streaming services. It remains to be seen what this will mean for Netflix’s subscriber count.