Netflix is our new best friend

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Dayami Padron | Contributing Writer


“Just one more episode. I can stop whenever I want.”

This is the lie I tell myself as I consider the various outcomes that a cliffhanger could lead to. The option to stream, pause and skip episodes allows me to control all of the information I crave at once. I could also pick the most convenient time and at what rate of consumption to binge, in my overwrought day of classes.

Video streaming services, such as Netflix, make it very easy for students to watch television at their leisure. If we stop to observe what some of the students at FIU are doing, we might find that many of them are catching up with their favorite shows from their laptops and tablets. Taking a walk by the Green Library Hub may prove that college students appropriated the binge-watching culture— we are hooked.

Netflix reports over 50 million adult subscribers. Due to the contemporary selection of shows and the generational appeal of video streaming, it would be easy to presume that a majority of subscribers are of college age. This statistic does not take into consideration the household members of the account holders, nor the “free-loaders” benefitting from their friends’ accounts. The media-provider’s bright red logo can be spotted anywhere, from the computer monitors in GL to the glowing cell phone screens in auditorium classrooms. Students frantically make the time to feed their Netflix addiction.

People like me, who binge watch TV shows on Netflix, adhere religiously to one show at a time and finish entire seasons in short periods of time.

Once they absorb the fictional realm in its entirety and recommend it to all of their friends and family, they find solace via online blogs. Essentially, they become part of a community of doting and slightly nutty fans. This following is what we might call the “fandom” phenomenon. Serial binge-watchers transcend this phenomenon because they belong to a larger umbrella community of people who have watched multiple of the same Netflix-recommended shows. What I find interesting about this overlapping of followings is that a majority of the programs are not, by any means, of the same genre.

I now wonder: have we entered a new era of consistently good television?

Perhaps one explanation to the shared domain of fandoms is that TV plots are increasingly smarter. Shows such as Breaking Bad and House of Cards have appealed to a large demographic that typically eschews the illogical elements of a plot development.

After all, who hasn’t learned a thing or two about chemistry with Walter White? Although this does not explain the rise in popularity of fantasy shows like Once Upon a Time, it does suggest the rising entertainment demands of an educated viewership.

Separately, the likelihood of a viewer leaping across incompatible genres, suggests the practicality of Netflix in its attempt to monopolize television.

I had previously asked whether or not our generation is living in the era of good TV. While I personally believe that we are, I do at times feel overwhelmed by the amount of programs that are available to stream. This is because several major broadcasting channels like ABC and The CW are feature facilitators to Netflix. As the provider, Netflix uses personalized suggestions and lists that self-modify to grant a show its ideal viewer— and not the other way around.

What I mean to say is that there is no one ideal show for a person, but there are certain people more likely to watch a show upon recommendation. This penchant for marketing and its immense variety of options guarantee it a continued increase of subscribers. Regardless of the quality of television provided, the odds seem to be in favor of Netflix.

There is no other way to satisfy the binge-watching addiction, than the continual expanding of video streaming commodities.

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