Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Viva La Netflix!

Fringe, Attack of the Show, and 30Rock already aired their series finales as shows like the Office, Breaking Bad, Merlin, and Spartacus plan on wrapping up their fan favorite series within the year. It's the time of year when we learn if our favorite shows will continue on or be shopped around and potentially saved by another network or on-line streaming company.
Most likely, some of your favorites will be cancelled. Recently, I heard about ABC yanking Apt. 23 off the air, but it hasn't been "officially cancelled" like Ben and Kate, Alphas, and Animal Practice. A lot of shows are on the bubble (Community, Touch, 1600 Penn, Happy Endings, The New Normal...pretty much any show with script) which usually means they'll be cancelled or for the lucky few, the network will order a shortened season to allow a heartfelt goodbye to fans. The best way to determine if your show will be cancelled is to check the network:

  1. Any sitcom on NBC is probably cancelled. 
  2. On the CW and not Supernatural, the Vampire Diaries, or Arrow... your show most likely will be cancelled. 
  3. On CBS and stars Dennis Quaid, it is cancelled. 
  4. If the title of the show has an actual number and on ABC, I'm sorry...it is going to be cancelled.

However, television viewing habits are changing and will continue to do so in the coming years with companies like Netflix reviving cult shows like Arrested Development as well as talking about revisiting other fan favorites like Jericho and producing original programming like the recently released House of Cards. Then, companies like Amazon Prime (who picked up the Zombieland TV show) and Hulu Plus are now producing their own programming, too.  These on-line streaming companies are creating a new market that will compete for viewers like Showtime and HBO do currently. This new market will infringe upon the already known market and overtake it...remember VCRs and cassettes and how people didn't think DVDs and CDs would replace them...then they did, and now digital content, Blu-rays, and MP3s are replacing DVDs and CDs. Technology advances quickly and if I was working for Kabletown or any of the networks broadcasting on cable and/or Dish services, I'd pay close attention to the story I'm about to unfold.

In 1999, Netflix began its innovative concept of a monthly subscription video rental service with NO late fees where the movies ship directly to you. In 2010, Blockbuster Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Movie Gallery (Hollywood Video) filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closed it's last store in 2010. Movie rentals have never the same. In eleven years, Netflix crushed it's competition and decided to move on to their next venture. In 2007, Netflix began it's streaming video-on-demand service (Watch Instantly) which has created a new market for competitors like Amazon and Hulu. In 2011, Netflix announced their intent to create original programming. So far, they've released Lilyhammer and House of Cards with the Eli Roth produced horror/thriller Hemlock Grove and the fourth season of Arrested Development due to release later this year. Weeds creator Jenji Kohan is developing a comedy-drama (Orange is the New Black) and a children's show from Dreamworks animation is in the pipeline as well (Turbo: F.A.S.T.).

But wait...that's not all. Netflix signed an exclusive distribution deal with Disney. And we all know that Disney keeps buying up all the hottest items like Pixar animation along with the MuppetsStar Wars and Marvel franchises.  The mouse knows what is up and combining with Netflix is a very smart move. With this deal, Disney will be passing by premium cable channels (like Starz, HBO, or Showtime) and exclusively have their new movies available through digital distribution. This will take effect after Disney's current deal with Starz ends in 2016, but already some of the older movies in the Disney library are available to stream through Netflix. Let me reiterate what is happening... a company (Disney) that owns a broadcast network (ABC) is passing over the premium cable channels and only distributing their movies digitally. They are bypassing one older medium to have their content on exclusively on another new one...sound familar? VCRs anyone?

11...seriously, think about it
It took eleven years for Netflix to kill home video rentals as we knew it. They've already begun changing how television is viewed. I estimate fifteen years for them to topple cable and have digital distribution to be the majority of viewers preference. But remember, this revolt started in 2007. Viva La Netflix!