Have you heard of Netflix? If you haven’t, Google it, subscribe, and change your life forever. Because as of October 20th, it is available in Spain.
Is it that life changing, you ask? Well, just ask the 62.3 million worldwide subscribers. I’m fairly certain they all will confirm my statement, whether they say it changed their lives for the better or worse.
Netflix is an online digital streaming service that offers unlimited access to a wide selection of TV shows and movies for a low monthly fee.
It has become a huge part of American culture. A recent survey found 92% of Americans binge watch TV, that is they watch at least three consecutive episodes of a show in one day. And they are doing it on Netflix, with 66% admitting Netflix was their binge medium of choice. It gave Americans the ability to watch however much of a show they wanted, on demand. Convenience and overconsumption–that’s the American way afterall. (Half joking about that.) It has become so popular, it was even transformed into a slang term: “Netflix and Chill.”
As much as I am partial to it, the underlying idea was truly objectively brilliant and is still revolutionizing the television and movie industry in the United States.
The first proof that it is really revolutionary can be found in the death of a popular American video rental store, Blockbuster. In the early 2000s, Blockbuster had more than 9,000 stores nationwide. Renting DVDs was the primary way people consumed television. But with the introduction of Netflix, a new method for viewing videos changed the industry forever. It offered more variety at a lower cost. By 2010, only 300 stores remained, while Netflix had amassed about 23 million subscribers in the US alone. In 2013, Blockbuster announced it would be officially closing its remaining stores. And with that, video rental was dead.
Now Netflix is threatening the cable industry. In the US, homes who buy internet from cable companies but not TV increased 16% since 2012. TV ratings are falling sharply, down 40% in the last quarter of 2014. All while subscriptions to online streaming services climbed by 36% since 2013. Netflix is forcing change in the industry, and in order to stay relevant, companies such as CBS and NBC are rushing to create their own streaming services.
Will it have the same impact in Spain? Will it force major cable providers to innovate their business model? It’s hard to say for certain, but will definitely be interesting to analyze in the future.
But for now, relax, grab some popcorn, maybe a buddy, and enjoy watching way too many episodes of House of Cards in one sitting. You won’t even think about all the far more productive things you could be doing. Spain, welcome to the world of Netflix.