Peyton Lewis ‘23, Managing Editor/Layout Director
When Netflix was first founded on Aug. 29, 1997, it was revolutionary, with individual DVDs being mailed to subscribers’ houses whenever they wished, and only being required to pay a flat fee each month. In the age of video stores such as Blockbuster, being able to have movies delivered to one’s house was a dream. In the more than 20 years since Netflix’s beginning, the streaming service has changed tremendously. While Netflix may have been the first of its kind, the rise of new streaming services has caused the quality of Netflix to decrease—with its selection of titles and quality of content dwindling, the streaming service is no longer holding up to the glory of its former days.
Hulu, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, and Peacock, are only a few of the large amounts of streaming services that have come about in the past few years. Ideally, more streaming services similar to Netflix would be a good thing. In reality, however, this has only caused Netflix to lose its licensing to many popular titles. Junior Isabel Perez said “I feel like they got rid of a lot of good shows and now it’s just losing its popularity.” For example, The Office left Netflix at the end of 2020 with the reasoning being that the license deal between NBC and Netflix had come to an end, and rather than renewing this deal, NBC elected to have The Office moved to its own streaming service titled Peacock. The Office is only one major title that Netflix has lost the rights to in recent years. At the start of 2021, Gossip Girl, another popular Netflix title, was unfortunately moved to HBO Max, which devastated many Netflix users. Due to this increase of new streaming services, consumers no longer have access to the abundance of content they once previously had all in one place, but instead have to pay for multiple streaming services to have access to the same entertainment.
Despite Netflix losing many of its big name titles to other streaming services, on Jan. 14, the company announced that it would be raising the price of each of their plans. The standard plan raised from $14 to $15.50 per month, and the 4K plan was raised from $18 to $20 per month. In response to this price raise, a Netflix spokesperson said, “We’re updating our prices so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options.” If Netflix considers cheesy original movies and a long string of canceled original television show productions to be “quality entertainment options” then this price increase certainly was justified.
Another issue with Netflix is the limited availability of new episodes of current television shows. Netflix subscribers must wait until the new season of a television is completely finished airing before it is released on Netflix—that is if the new season is even released at all. Whereas a service such as Hulu will release the new episodes of many television shows the day after it airs. For those who no longer have cable television and instead rely solely on streaming services, this model is more ideal.
Since 2013, when Netflix released its first original television series House of Cards, the platform has begun to release more and more original content. However, this original content does not always hold up. One of the biggest problems with a majority of Netflix’s original content, primarily the television shows, is the rate of production. Most seasons of the original television series are only eight to 10 episodes long and new seasons sometimes take up to a year to be released—I am looking at you season four of Stranger Things. Of course it is unrealistic for new seasons to be released right away, but even a standard cable television series has only a few months between the release of each new season, which contain around 20 to 22 episodes each. If Netflix expects this original content to make up for the large loss of other popular titles, they need to step up their game.
For its time, Netflix was a genius idea. It paved the way for the streaming services we know today. And while Netflix will always be the familiar comfort we all love, it may be time for Netflix to take a step back and let the newer and more improved streaming services step into the spotlight.