On October 26, 2013, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos argued before a group of film industry insiders—producers, buyers, directors—who had gathered to hear him give the keynote at that year’s Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, that the movie business will soon die unless cinema owners embrace the distribution model Netflix has championed. Ideally, Sarandos would like to see all films—from big-budget summer blockbuster hopefuls to small, independent documentaries—released simultaneously in traditional movie theaters and via Netflix streaming. In the nearly three years since Sarandos’s chiding speech, theater owners have still not adopted the Netflix model; but neither has the movie business died as a result.
With its noirish murder mystery miniseries The Night Of, HBO has introduced yet another innovation bound to alter people’s TV-watching habits. The show officially premiered on Sunday, July 10, but the cable network made the first episode (of eight) available to subscribers through HBO On Demand and its online HBOGO service more than two weeks earlier.
Engagement is the holy grail in user experience. Product engineers design for it; business owners strive for it; and users naturally want it. In discussions with owners and executives at cable, OTT, search-and-recommendation and video-streaming companies worldwide, Mediander has found universal agreement on the benefits of user engagement. A more emotionally involved customer is more likely to spend money on products and services. The connection between increased engagement and increased transactions seems like common sense.
It’s hard to say exactly what the title of Maria Bamford’s new Netflix series is meant to signify. It could be Bamford’s manic depression—her sense that, at any moment, everything in her life could explode. It could be her fear, common among introverts, that if she doesn’t please everyone around her, her fragile relationships might come crashing down like a demolished building. Or it could be the fact that Bamford, who has toiled in C-list obscurity for years, is finally, at long last, blowing up.
Television has changed a lot in recent years. No longer the sole domain of networks and cable companies, TV is now distributed—and produced—by a growing flock of internet content providers. Facilitated by devices such as Apple TV, the web-based delivery of quality programming is also changing our viewing habits, making bingeing the norm and patience a quaint old virtue. With the release of the fourth season of House of Cards on Netflix this past Friday, we decided to explore our Topics pages for the ways viewers are watching the Emmy-winning drama and other lauded shows.
“They say we get the leaders we deserve,” begins Frank Underwood’s Oval Office address to you, his loyal fourth wall, in a recent trailer for House of Cards. Season four of the Netflix show premieres tonight and, frankly, the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. As Underwood claws and scrapes his way to victory, so do our own presidential hopefuls. Soon, all the campaigns will blur. Fiction and reality will become one. If we play our cards wrong, this November we may end up with a fictional character for president.
I have a strange sense of humor. I don’t watch stand-up, I don’t tend to like sitcoms, and to the horror of all my friends, I hate Will Ferrell. That’s why I was surprised a couple of years ago when I caught Aziz Ansari’s Netflix stand-up special, Buried Alive, and thought it was hilarious. I understood his frustration with millennials and the oversharing of baby photos. I laughed when he talked about how strange online dating searches can be: “Jewish and my zip code!” Basically, I was a fan.