The Netflixification of Everything
Let’s Face It, It’s Happening
In the video world of the Entertainment Arts, we have long seen the “Netflixification Of Everything” happening. Netflix famously went from being an online mail-delivery video rental version of Blockbuster (who?) to become one of the most important sources of original video content that still has network television shook and network executives waking up in the middle of the night sweating in their tighty-whities.
Since the Netflix juggernaut, we’ve seen Hulu blossom…. ish, maybe, well, let’s see what Disney does with it. We’ve seen Comedy Central try to push their own app channels on streaming boxes. HBO Go, Showtime, hell even CBS has gotten into the game launching an All Access subscription site to see new episodes of Star Trek Discovery.
But this is only the beginning. Disney recently confirmed that Captain Marvel will not be going to Netflix, being exclusive to their own streaming service Disney+ (side note: horrible name). And even more recently, Netflix has dropped the last of their Marvel properties in preparation of the launch of the Netflix competitor. Smart move, imo, pull the bandaid off now to prevent what amounts to further advertising Marvel’s, er, I mean, Disney’s new service.
Then there is Apple which is this close to launching Apple Video — not the official name of the service, but I can’t call it AppleTV can I? — as they continue the hard pivot to “services” and try not to depend so much on me buying another $1000+ smartphone. Rumors of it being possibly too “family friendly” aside, we have to assume it will be more compelling than whatever the hell the garbagefire “Planet Of The Apps” was — which was on Apple Music??? Huh.
In the video world, none this is new news. We’ve seen all this happening for a long time now, it’s just we are at the point were so much more of it is about to go online and beg for our approx. $10 USD/month.
End of article, right? That’s it, that’s the “Netflixification Of Everything”, right?
Oh honey, not even close. We’ve only just begun…
Much has already been written about Spotify’s recent acquisition of both the Gimlet podcasting network and the podcast making & distribution app Anchor. Every tech blog under the sun already had their PR regurgitation and hot takes. To many podcast fans, this news was alarming.
Tech blogs like TheVerge.com were flooded with comments with listeners ready to “die on the hill” rather than join a subscription service to support a podcast they love.
As a listener of podcasts, I get it. I too fear a future where I have to take podcasts into consideration when deciding which subscription services to send my money.
But this isn’t a new phenomenon, many podcast networks, such as Earwolf, have been offering premium/pay wall-only podcasts for a while. So, we’ve already had to make these decisions. Do I want to listen to Threedom now or wait until they become desperate and offer it for free with ads?
But as a podcaster myself (It’s Mewsic! RIGHT MEOW!, Tech It Out Podcast, and my experimental one Let’s Make Art Together), making a living podcasting isn’t easy. I can’t blame Gimlet or Earwolf or whatever from seeing an opportunity to bring great original content to a platform in a hope for some kind of financial return.
I mean, because let’s be honest… Podcast ads are not working. That skip button on your favorite podcast app is just too reachable.
Podcasting needs a better path for being a legitimate way to make a living. If Youtubers can do it, surely people who bring quality audio content should have a better way to monetize too, right?
Okay fine, TV shows, movies, and podcasts, surely that’s it right?
Nope. When I said Entertainment Arts, I meant it. Recently Spotify has been beta testing a new feature for music artists to upload their new work directly to Spotify.
As a music artist myself, this seems great! I get to bypass the middle-people of labels and/or distribution sites like Distrokid or CDBaby allowing me to again, potentially make more money for the work of making content people (hopefully) enjoy. Yay paying rent!
But what does this mean for you, the music listener?
Is it conceivable to see a near-future where Spotify acquires “the next Drake” and starts delivering that content directly onto their service, allowing that new drake to make a real living? And also making it where Spotify is the only place you can listen to them?
Of course it is!
(Psst: Spotify, I’m kinda like the Next Weirdo Cult Bedroom Pop artist, call me)
And honestly… Can you blame them?
If you were Spotify or Disney or Apple (and definitely the big 4 networks), you have to be looking at Netflix and thinking, “Sweet baby jesus! They are doing something special over there!”
Every quarter their numbers get better and better, their content gets more and more “real recognition”, social media can’t stop talking about them.
HBO and Showtime get some of this too (Game Of Thrones and the zombie shows come to mind), and what do they all have in common. They went from offering pretty much only other people’s content, to a balance of that and New & Good Original Content.
SO MUCH CONTENT, SO LITTLE TIME!
AND IT’S WORKING
So if you are Spotify and you are battling it out with Apple Music to get people to spend $10 to play the same thing that is offered on your competitors network, what do you do?
You go full Netflix. Sure, offer Drake and Swift and Coldplay or whatever, but also bring us the Next Drake, the Next Swift, and the Next Coldplay at the same time. Bring us lots of great podcasts that we already love but also bring us Original Podcasts that not only gets me to try you out, but forces me to stay there or miss out.
There’s no way other way to compete! Apple Music comes preinstalled on every iPhone AND if you do install Spotify on your phone, if you also sign up on the iPhone, Apple gets a cut then too!
So not only is it getting harder and harder to get people to go through the hassle of downloading and signing up, it’s also harder to make money when they do.
Sure, you can go the early exclusive route, but honestly, many people will just wait it out and or go get the new Beyonce or whatever from a side source.
But you say, “Aaron, won’t people just do that with The Next Drake and Next Swift etc”? Won’t we just be returning to the days of napster and oink and limewire?
Sure, maybe some, but if you bring enough good content, then it becomes too much to steal/borrow and you say fuck it and sign up. Because let’s be honest, it’s 2019.
Who *clap* The *clap* Fuck *clap* Wants *clap* To *clap* Download *clap* A *clap* Bunch *clap* Of *clap* Music? Then shove it on their iPhone and manage it?
Nobody, that’s who.
SOURCE: SEE NETFLIX (YOU KNOW, THE WHOLE REASON FOR THE ARTICLE)
What’s that mean for you and me? Cable 2.0 Plus
Well for content creators, it’s both exciting and exhausting. While there will be more platforms to potentially make a living making your content, it also means fragmentation and having to work all the platforms you can in order to get seen or heard or paid.
Ugh. I’m exhausted just writing that.
But what about you, the listener, watcher, binger, etc? Well, it means in the near future you’ll have to look at your budget and decide how to split that pie up even more. Who brings you the content you want the most. And it’s going to be complicated.
If you got $40 for online entertainment, well, that may mean choosing Netflix, Spotify, HBO, Disney, and not Hulu, CBS and AppleVideo for a few months.
It’s Cable 2.0
Before, we used to pay a chunk of money for basic cable then pay extra for the packages, and here we are again. I pay a base amount for access to the internet via my internet & wireless providers, then pay for “packages” ala these apps.
The only benefit now is the fluidity that I can come and go. I can binge on Netflix for 2 months, switch over to HBO, then get me my Brooklyn 99 when the season is up on Hulu.
In one sense, it sucks. This was exactly why we all left cable years ago, right? It was complicated, expensive, and most of the content sucked.
But at the same time, it means now there is more new and exciting content being made since the competition is fierce, CBS can’t just put out some canned laughter fat husband, hot wife, with 2.5 kids sitcom and bank money. As long as we have the ability to come and go as we please, we still weld some power in this inevitability.
On the bright side… while a bit of a hassle, it isn’t quite as bad as actually calling the Cable Company, right?
*March 2019 UPDATE!*