Netflix gets it.
We want to watch TV shows, movies, and documentaries when we want to watch them.
This is different to the old appointment-based model that media companies are used to. (“We’ll show the show when it suits us, and expect you to sit down to watch it then and there—oh and you’ll also have to waste hours of your life being interrupted by commercials. You’re welcome.”)
If we start to watch an addictive series that has a tendency to leave a cliff hanger at the end of each episode, we want to see what happens next. So if we’re on call for work and it’s raining, we’ll binge and watch the whole thing in a 30 hour period.
That’s what I did with House of Cards, Season 2 for the first half of this weekend. Is that the best use of my weekend? Probably not. But who cares. I now love Netflix even more than I used to, and am perfectly happy to keep paying them recurring monthly fees.
The Netflix model for House of Cards stands in stark contrast to the model used by HBO for Season 3 of Girls. I want to watch Girls. I am happy to pay for it.
But I want to watch it when it suits me, and I don’t happen to have a TV (or a cable subscription, obviously). To access HBO Go, HBO’s streaming service, you have to have a HBO cable channel.
Short of knocking on doors to find someone who’ll let me watch Girls when it airs tonight, or downloading it illegally, I’m basically out of options.
In what seemed like a bit of a pointless tease, HBO decided to give us the premier episodes of Girls Season 3 on YouTube. Thanks guys, that’s really helpful. Now what?
Come on media companies other than Netflix. Put your stuff online. Let us pay a reasonable price. And start making us feel like our preferences come into the equation. We are the customer after all.
Spoiler Alert – Check out The Atlantic’s Live Binge Review of House of Cards, Season 2.