Welcome to the Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and Chill generation, a new age for television, whereby the power of content control is being shifted out of the hands of the major broadcasters, and given to the creatives and the audience.
Paying for services like Netflix, is no longer about having an endless stream of boxsets to binge on, it has also become a platform to view exclusive content. So what if you have Sky+ and pay more than £40 a month for it if you can’t get the new series of House of Cards that everyone at work will be talking about tomorrow?
Ignoring for a second the original principal of the likes of Netflix etc. (Boxsets of your favourite shows at your fingertips) their more recent aims can be split into the following categories;
- Original Content
Sparked by House of Cards from Netflix in 2013, original content spanning from Drama to Documentary, Kids to Comedy and everything in between seems to be the main route forward. What is interesting about this it the fact that the ideas for new programming isn’t only coming from the proverbial Guys in Suits. You or I could submit a script through Amazon Studios, providing opportunities into the industry and content that doesn’t have to adhere to formulated requirements.
- RevivalsIt has happened a number of times where popular US shows either don’t do as well, or are cut after the first few seasons, here in the UK (Once Upon A Time, Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf to name a few in a dozen) despite the increasing popularity across the pond. So what Netflix UK have started doing is buying the “broadcast” rights instead, they’ll have the first four seasons readily available for example, and then release Season 5 that is showing in the USA in two parts. This way we aren’t denied access to current shows.
Shows that have been cancelled by the network but have been picked up by an… on demand streaming service? (For lack of a sexier name)
Amazon are continuing Top Gear, but are re-branding the format for obvious legal reasons, Hulu continued with The Mindy Project after it was dropped by Fox.
Not sure if this last one falls under an original series, revival, continuation or all of the above, but the return of The Gilmore Girls on Netflix in 2016/17 is another revolutionary step forward. Now shows that have been stopped too soon, or didn’t get the ending they deserved are all turning in their haphazardly dug graves sensing the possibility of redemption.
There are still a number of things left to consider if this is the direction that television is moving into;
What are the quality controls put in place, and who is in charge of enforcing them? (I mean we’re all aware of the social experiment that created Snakes on a Plane.)
What does that mean for the future of terrestrial/cable television?
Why should you pay £40+ for services such as Sky+ or Virgin when they aren’t meeting all of your necessary television needs?
As much as we like to think that we can have our cake and eat it too, it is financially unfeasible for us to continue to pay so much for all the film and television services that are out there. So tell me, if there came a time when a decision had to be made…
What platform would you stand behind?