A major change is happening in our TV viewing habits and Netflix knows it.

Netflix, the subscription based company that for a minimal fee of £5.99 a month lets you stream as many movies and TV shows as you like, has gotten even better. Noting how we love to binge watch TV shows rather than waiting for a week between episodes, they’re now producing their own original TV series and releasing all the episodes at once. Such was the case with House of Cards, a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey.

I have to admit, for me, this is heaven. The idea that I can get hooked on a new TV show and watch it all at once, just makes me love Netflix even more.

But ­­Dustin Rowles sees it differently and in his article here, he explains why he’s staunchly against this strategy. His principal argument is that TV has now become so much a communal experience and this ruins it.

And TV has become communal, we Tweet and post messages on Facebook when our favourite shows are on. The cast of Scandal, an American TV show written by Shonda Rhimes, responds to viewers by live tweeting as they watch the show.

Between each weekly episode they use their Facebook page to flirt with viewers about the upcoming episode, asking questions and encouraging viewers to play games. We all know what role social media plays during big sporting events too, like the Olympics, just look here.

Rowles further points out that the biggest problem is spoilers. We haven’t yet managed to work out how we can communicate with just those who are on the same episode as us. Rowles makes a solid point and he’s right; I'm someone who regularly tweets about the shows I'm watching and I discuss the plots, as do my friends. But still, the idea that I can everything at once outweighs everything else. It doesn't mean that I'm against shows that are pushed out every week, I just appreciate that with this latest series, there's no waiting.

More interestingly however, was how Netflix knew that House of Cards would be a hit.
Based on the viewing habits of its 33 million users, it knew how many users watch movies starring Kevin Spacey and the Director David Fincher and how many people sat through other political dramas. And so we are starting to see the role big data has and the benefits of it.


A Seminal Moment

Posted on

Thursday, 21 March 2013


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