Opinion: Netflix Canada Is Going To Be Worse Than Ever Before
Is it too late to go back to DVDs?
If you didn't already know, Netflix has been around since 1997, originally providing mail-in DVD rental services. Back then, they had a huge catalogue and were banking on the fact that DVD rental services would be sustainable. That didn't last long.
In 2007, they expanded their operation to include streaming. Originally, their catalogue was massive with limited original series offerings. After they produced hits such as "House of Cards" and "Orange Is The New Black," the floodgates opened. Now, they produce countless original series and films.
We're living in an apparent "Golden Age of Television" but Netflix has recently been lacklustre in terms of quality. They seemingly value quantity instead and produce content that isn't up to par compared to other streaming services like Crave and Amazon Prime. Question is, what happened?
TL;DR People tend to agree that Netflix used to be better. With such a large amount of original content, you would expect the streaming service to be amazing, but these days, it doesn't seem to be the case.
Content Was Way Better
This isn't intended to bash Netflix's current offering of original content. Personally, I love some of their recent projects like "Russian Doll" and "Big Mouth."
However, I can't seem to remember any specific quotes or episodes. I can quote you exact moments from Seinfeld to the very minute of the episode but I can't seem to remember something I watched last night.
I remember when Netflix used to offer quality movies and awesome T.V. shows, often from networks or large production companies. That was its original purpose, after all — to be a one-stop-shop for all your film and television content. Somewhere along the line, that all changed.
Quantity Over Quality
Quick, name me 3 Netflix original series that came out in 2018. While you're at it, name 3 Netflix original movies that came out in 2019. Did you have to Google it? Yup, me too.
Do you feel like there's never anything to watch but there's also like, too much? You're not alone. Netflix has a serious problem with too much content. Between January and June 2018, alone, Netflix released over 55 seasons of original content.
It's April and Netflix has already released 49 films (including documentaries and comedy specials)! Somehow, with all this choice, people continue to binge watch five-year-old episodes of "The Big Bang Theory."
What's The Purpose Anymore?
At face value, Netflix's original mission statement was to provide mail-in DVD rental services. That went kaput, so Netflix evolved into a streaming service. At the time, this was a controversial move but set Netflix apart from the competition, setting the stage for its current success.
But what's the point? If I want Disney,the best Canadian show since Trailer Park Boys, I'll get Crave T.V.. If I want
Assuming I subscribe to every major streaming service to watch what I want, I'm paying nearly $110 per month to watch television. Take a guess which one I'm watching the least.
No Good Vibes Whatsoever
Netflix has historically been bullish when asked to reveal their viewership data. They did reveal how many accounts watched a show at a particular time, but they've never released raw viewer data. In fact, Netflix might be boosting its numbers — a common practice in television.
Also, Netflix is one of those companies that plainly take advantage of the American tax system. Oddly enough, for a company that posted roughly $845 million in profits last year, Netflix paid zero in income taxes. They actually got a $22 million tax rebate from the American government.
All this profit but Netflix is still increasing prices across the board. Even with a rapidly dwindling catalogue, forgetful original context, and nearly $10.4 billion in debt, Netflix expects Canadians pay up to $16.99 a month to watch binge-watch "The Office" for the 47th time.
What's Next For Netflix?
Don't expect Netflix to slow down. After "Roma" was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, Netflix is doubling-down on its original film output with some 90 films planned for production over the year.
As Netflix continues to legitimize itself as an auteur-driven hub for passion projects, the profits continue to soar. With 158 million subscribers, the streaming service shows no signs of relenting despite intense pressure from other services and "Fortnite."
Is it all worth it? If we continue to watch, it will totally be worth it for Netflix. But how long will it be until we've had our fill of the endless void of online streaming services? It doesn't seem too long now because piracy is back in vogue again.
Like many this year, I'll probably be cancelling my Netflix subscription. I've already signed up for Crave TV and I've been watching that more than Netflix. Crave does have "Seinfeld," though, so maybe I'm a little biased...