By Samantha Hart
It’s no secret that Netflix has grown since its inception over two decades ago. The company began as a simple rental company for movies, similar to how Redbox is now.
Netflix quickly developed into an online streaming service in 2007. However, what is now growing in popularity more than ever before are the Netflix original movies and TV shows.
Netflix original shows like “Orange is the New Black,” “Stranger Things,” and the now cancelled “House of Cards” are among the most prestigious shows to be streamed only on Netflix, all scoring 78 percent or higher by critics on Rotten Tomatoes, according to Business Insider.
Netflix films have also been a topic of discussion in the entertainment industry. Since Netflix spent nearly $13 million on creating original content in 2018, it’s fair to say it was bound to be a good year, according to Business Insider.
The well-known Netflix original movie “Bird Box” starring Sandra Bullock took the Internet by storm when it was released in Dec. 2018, being streamed over 45 million times in just over a month. The movie was so popular that it sparked the slightly controversial “Bird Box Challenge” which prompted people to blindfold themselves and perform daily activities, much like what the characters in the film had to do.
The influence that just one Netflix original was able to have is a fair indicator of how successful the production of Netflix originals is and how much more powerful they can become.
At of the end of 2017, Netflix had about 52 million subscribers, compared to Hulu which had approximately 17 million. This can be partially contributed to the rising popularity of Netflix originals.
But is Netflix growing so much that it will take over the film and television industry? On one hand, people are more likely to watch something on Netflix at home than go out to the movies where two tickets and popcorn can cost $40. On the other hand, people will also flood the theaters when a highly anticipated movie is released.
Despite the experience and vibe that a movie theater is able to provide, more and more people are resorting to just staying in. In 2012, consumers spent $10.7 million in US theaters compared to $4.4 million on streaming services or other internet providers. In 2021, it is projected that consumers will spend a mere $12.2 million in US theaters while simultaneously are projected to spend $18.8 million on streaming services, according to USA Today.
Clearly, online streaming is taking a huge stab at the cinema industry, but the question of whether Netflix alone is responsible for the theatrical revenue decline is shaky. Other streaming services, such as Hulu and Amazon Video, have much to do with the increase in online viewers.
Out of all video streaming sites, Netflix certainly tops the field, but Hulu and Amazon Video have also produced their own original content that have attracted audiences. Hulu’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” and Amazon Video’s “Jack Ryan” have been quite popular shows that were original content for both the sites.
In the vast scheme of the film industry, online streaming services, most prominently Netflix but others as well, have altered the way people receive entertainment. Online streaming is not a fad and will continue to grow.
If movie cinemas want to remain relevant in the upcoming years while still making a profit, they will have to approach their audiences differently to get their attention back from streaming services.