Christopher M. Enis
The media streaming service Netflix is all grown up. What began as the little distribution engine that could, ultimately blossomed into a behemoth that put major networks on notice and inspired HBO, CBS and the like to start streaming a little content of their own.In recent years, Netflix made the leap from streaming secondhand, to creating original content. It began with the show Lilyhammer in 2012. The series originated in Norway, but premiered on Netflix in exclusive fashion. One year later, the critically acclaimed House Of Cards set the stage for what is now a comfortable selection of comedies, thrillers, dramas and documentaries… all of whom bear the Netflix standard.
What makes Netflix such a force, is the quality of said programming. Several shows (including Hemlock Grove, Orange Is The New Black, and House of Cards) became the first original ‘online only’ programs to garner Emmy nominations and wins. Netflix (distributed) documentary The Square was nominated for an Academy Award.
One can argue that Netflix is the catalyst that inspired the competition to engage in the ultimate form of flattery: imitation. Amazon Prime, Google TV and even Yahoo stepped up their game. Major networks dug in, and are either already streaming or have major plans to produce exclusive online programming.
For now, Netflix enjoys a comfortable lead in terms of quality, quantity and access. And to think, it all started because co-founder Reed Hastings got stuck with late fees for keeping a rented copy of Apollo 13 a few days too long.