-Alexa Jenkins, Copy Editor
Netflix leads the pack of instant streaming sites, including Amazon Prime and Hulu, which are a big part of the lives of most college students. The convenience of on-demand movies and TV shows, combined with the ability to watch entire seasons of shows at a time, appeals to the odd schedules of college kids. In fact, it appeals to the American population as a whole. Business Insider says that Netflix has “revolutionized” the television industry several times in the 17 years since it began, first with its extensive catalog of mail-in DVD orders, then with a large selection of streamable television and movies, and now with the regular release of entire seasons of original shows. The most recent development is seen in the popular shows “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” the latter of which won a Golden Globe in early January. Amazon has been developing its own instant video services, and while it has not reached the level of popularity Netflix has, its original shows, including Golden Globe-winner “Transparent,” are also taking off. Amazon has also started releasing pilot episodes of potential programs to find out how the public will respond to new ideas.
These new original shows add to Netflix and Amazon’s business credibility, but another factor truly reaches most people, especially college students: community. Netflix’s cultural impact comes from shows like “Gilmore Girls,” which was released on the site in October 2014. Entertainment blogger Spenser Milo of BasedonNothing.net says that the release of the early 2000s drama, as well as the more recent release of 90’s favorite “Friends” in early January, does something for the online community that shows like “House of Cards” don’t do. It gives both old and new fans a chance to talk about shows that were previously absent from the online world. Real conversations happen about these shows because it’s too late for bloggers to catch up on reviewing episodes that are 10 or more years old. This gives individual viewers the chance to create content and form opinions about the programs, as well as providing an opportunity to simply indulge in some nostalgia.
The combination of new content with current favorites and 90s nostalgia all in one place is something that did not exist before the past couple of years. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu have created a new television experience that seeks to respond to what viewers want, all while creating new content and re-releasing old favorites. College students are among the millions that benefit from services like Netflix, which seek to provide quality entertainment in a convenient and affordable way.