What happened to the good ole days when everybody was simply a critic? It is a tradition as old as time: giving your opinion, whether or not anybody asked for it. Places like yelp, trip advisor, and especially the review/comment section of any website, are magical places where regular people can scream from the metaphorical mountain tops of the interwebs about how they feel on just about anything. Movies, books, TV, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, parking lots, ballpoint pens, toaster ovens, shall I go on? Literally nothing is safe anymore, not even ourselves. Our own social media accounts are where people go to review us.
- Jackie Murphy:
- 115 Customer Reviews
- 4.2 out of 5 stars
- Top Reviews:
- User: Mom
- Stars: ***
- Comment: That skirt is a little short!! Don’t forget to call your grandmother and wish her a happy birthday!! xoxo Mom
In all seriousness, I think the ability for people to give their opinions is incredibly useful. These days I don’t commit to anything without first checking the reviews. If I’m going to see a movie, picking a restaurant, and especially if I am buying anything online, I check the reviews. And it is not unusual for me to change my original plan after reading something good or bad from a stranger online. Obviously there are downsides to this, people can be mean, biased, and just plain wrong when giving their opinion online. Nevertheless, usually it’s easy to spot the one bitter customer who left a flaming review because their steak came medium instead of medium well. The average person takes everything with a grain of salt. But let’s be honest this is old news, people have been sharing and trusting opinions since websites gave us the option.
So why then did I spend the first 300 words of my blog framing this issue when I really want to talk about something else…?
I’m not really sure…it took longer than planned and I got a little too heated.
BUT—what I really want to address is the switch from critics to creators.
I want to talk about when suddenly everyone was so sure of their opinions that they said screw it I’ll do it myself.
I’m talking about Instagram models, influencers, food and beauty blogs, YouTube comedians, SoundCloud rappers, Etsy designers, podcasters, and trust me I could go on.
Suddenly any person with an iPhone can find celebrity on the internet. This is something I want to explore over the course of the semester. But let’s start at the beginning. There is always someone to blame, a first mover, someone who did not stay in their lane and now Sarah from Delaware thinks that if she buys an Urban Decay palette and some NARS foundation she can make a career out of it. Seriously no shade to Sarah or Delaware, you’re doing great sweetie, but I digress. There is probably someway to make this Amazon or Facebook’s fault, but this is my blog and I’m blaming Netflix.
Yep that’s right. Netflix started making original content, and now everybody else thinks they can too.
In February, 2013 (happy anniversary) Netflix released its first original content: House of Cards. Then came Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why, and and then it’s a blur. Netflix started releasing so many shows, movies, and specials customers felt overwhelmed. It’s hard to think back to before there was original content. Now Netflix floods its users with so many options, and honestly it does not even matter if they are good or not. What works, works, and they push it. What doesn’t pan out, they cancel, and no one is even sad because barely anyone has seen it.
Also a genius move by Netflix is this almost retroactive advertising. Netflix is calculated about how they advertise. If you’ve notice Netflix only advertises shows and movies that are either returning for a second season/sequel, or something they think is really going to be a hit. I saw plenty of promotion for movies such as The Kissing Booth and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before prior to their releases. However, with other series/movies it is almost as if they wait for a positive response from the internet, and then promote more heavily. Realistically though, they do not have to do much advertising, everyone else does it for them because now people are anticipating Netflix content. I personally go out of my way to check what is going to be uploaded each month and plan to watch it. Also Twitter and Instagram do a great job of telling you what’s new on Netflix and whether it’s worth watching. Recently I watched one of their newest series Sex Education. It’s a quirky teen drama, and it has been available for less than a month, and is on its way to 40 million views in its first four weeks. And that is nothing compared to the 80 million people that watched Bird Box in the same amount of time.
The most up to date figure I could find stated that Netflix planned to have 1000 originals on its platform by the end of 2018. In 2018 alone the budget for originals was $8 billion. I think their greatest success is the breath of content, everything from horror to sci-fi (the Haunting of Hill House), to comedy specials (Ellen DeGeneres Relatable) and children’s show (Motown Magic), and of course plenty of romantic comedies (too many to pick). If I want to watch something, the first place I check is Netflix. I cannot remember the last time I started a series on cable television. And why would I, when I can watch a Netflix original at my own leisure? I don’t have to tune into channel 66 at 8pm every Tuesday for 15 weeks. I could sit down one weekend and watch every episode.
Don’t get me wrong Netflix has had some misses, and you don’t just wake up one day and decide to become 20th Century Fox, and it certainly doesn’t come cheap. But it’s working for Netflix. You basically have to be the Super Bowl or The Bachelor to make people chose live television over streaming. And so the rest followed. Hulu, Amazon, and even YouTube have all taken a crack at original content. Will they have the same success as Netflix?
I’m hoping to make this into a series, and discuss in later blogs and potentially my project, other “creators” I alluded to above. Let me know if you enjoyed this, and what I should write about next! Also I promise the next blog won’t be as scattered!