Last week, Netflix announced plans at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour to release at least a dozen new shows starting February, further expanding its library of original content. The upcoming shows include “Love,” “Fuller House,” and “Stranger Things,” among others.
With the 75 million subscribers of Netflix alone and the viewers of other streaming media providers such as Hulu and HBO Go, it’s often a concern whether the cable and DVD industries are losing business or changing their business models as a result.
The benefits Netflix provides include offering a wide variety of movies and television shows for as low as $7.99 a month. Although Netflix started out as a service from which people rented DVDs and received them through the mail, it has now grown to an industry that provides Internet streaming content and exclusive TV shows and movies.
In that way, it not only competes with physical movie stores and services like Blockbuster and Redbox but with traditional TV providers, which charge an average of 10 percent more per month, according to institutionalinvestor.com.
One of the more notable effects of streaming is the near obliteration of the movie rental chain Blockbuster, which at one point in 2004, employed nearly 60,000 employees and operated over 9,000 stores. In 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy and by 2011, Dish Network bought 1,700 of its remaining stores. As of today, Blockbuster operates only 51 stores nationwide.
It is also clear Netflix has an effect on TV providers. For example, the streaming service often releases an entire season of TV shows at one time, which is a major departure from the conventional one-show-a-week programming model used by most TV networks.
In this way, it is designed for binge watching, which allows people to watch an entire season in a day, if they so choose. Since traditional TV providers can’t compete in that way, they are instead changing their business models to attract customers by providing their content live via mobile devices.
Additionally, most TV companies provide on-demand content. Even USF students who live on campus have free access to HBO Go and PhiloTV, which often eliminates the need for a TV. Therefore, the argument can also be made that the TV manufacturing industry is also affected.
There’s no question that even though the video store industry will likely be nonexistent in the near future, the TV industry and its consumers will ultimately benefit from the popularity of Netflix.
This is exemplified as smart TVs become an increasingly common commodity. These devices, invented by companies such as Vizio and Sony, allow people to watch Internet streaming sites and play video games using only their TV.
In the future, this will likely be the norm, and since demand for these TVs will likely increase, it will also create more business for cable providers who are currently suffering due to the popularity of Netflix on mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones.
If the smart TV trend continues, the loss of business for traditional television companies will only be a temporary occurrence, and our idea of the word “television” will certainly change.
Matthew Salway is a junior majoring in biology.