I think it’s safe to say that growing up, the options of good TV shows were highly limited. The idea of watching any series I wanted to with a touch of a button was a foreign idea to me. My family only had one TV in the lounge room with no Foxtel, so we had no more than seven channels to choose from. Typically the shows broadcasted would either be Australian made like “Neighbours” or “Home & Away”, or old American sitcoms like “Seinfeld”.
Fast forward 10 years to an era of ‘transnational TV’, where viewers virtually have an unlimited selection of shows and films to consume. We now have a range of streaming services that provide an abundance of overseas TV shows that premiere the same day in Australia as it does in its origin country. And if a show isn’t available for purchase or streaming, many people illegally stream it.
In saying that, the majority of the television I consume comes from online streaming services. In particular, Netflix and Stan. Together, they offer a huge selection of shows from all over the world — including classics, brand new series, and everything in between. Compatibility and accessibility is a huge factor for their success. All that is required is a screen of some sort, and most people already have a smartphone, so it’s easy for each consumer. The monthly subscription cost differs on each package, but the most affordable is $10/month, making it a bargain for most people. Studies have shown that users spend, on average, 71 minutes per day on Netflix. If I were to quickly do the math, that would mean over 35 hours a month is spent on Netflix, and therefore is only costing 28 cents per hour spent on the website. So personally, I think this is a very fair price. Subscribing also means no commercial breaks — which is great.
There’s a new way in which we consume TV, and it’s been dubbed as “binge watch culture”. This essentially includes watching a season of a TV show (or the whole series) in a short period of time. It’s now socially acceptable to stay home on a weekend and binge-watch the latest releases. In fact, 75 per cent of viewers admit to “binge-watching” TV series on streaming services. This typically is only available to users of streaming services, benefiting their overall success.
Netflix and other streaming services have built a whole industry around this notion. Over the past years, “Netflix Originals” have exclusively been released to users, and have completely dominated the site. My personal favourite is Stranger Things — a thrilling drama based in a small Indiana town during the 1980’s, following the lives of middle school kids experiencing paranormal events. The show has recently released its third season, which had racked up a huge 40 million viewers in the first three days. With a series that has such a positive response, it’s hard to image in that, without Netflix, the show would never have existed.
As long as technology evolves, our world will progressively become a more tech-based and tech-savvy society. More and more people will ditch traditional methods and adopt the streaming service lifestyle.
Meek, A. (2018). ‘Study: Netflix users are so addicted to bingeing there’s not much time left for family’. [online] Boy Genius Report, viewed 14 August 2019, https://bgr.com/2018/09/17/netflix-time-spent-bingeing-hurts-family/
Nemetz, D. (2019). ‘Stranger Things Season 3 Has Scared Up 40 Million Viewers, Netflix Claims’. [online]. TV Line, viewed 16 August 2019, https://tvline.com/2019/07/08/stranger-things-season-3-ratings-netflix/
Novak, A. (2016). ‘Chapter 2: Framing the Future of Media Regulation through Netflix’. The Netflix Effect: Technology and Entertainment in the 21st Century, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, viewed 16 August 2019, p. 39
Rainey, S. (2015). ‘How binge-watching has changed TV forever’. [online] The Telegraph, viewed 15 August 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/11361212/How-binge-watching-has-changed-TV-forever.html