EVOLUTION OF WEB SERIES
BY SOUMYA BASU
The word “Movie” excites you many way, it creates madness, it gives you break from your daily routine, and tells your mind to go and enjoy along with your loved ones or friends in a movie hall.
HANG ON!!!!!!!!!!! Aren’t we in the era of 4G, the lightning net speed? So why should we go to the movie hall? Ok guys take a chill pill… just enjoy at your home, watch some web series or 1 or 2 month old films, and again after a gap of 1 or 2 month, will able to see the current releases in web.
It is right to some extent as probably 50% viewers think this way and 50% will still go and watch new releases in movie hall. But the real fact is, the way we are moving on the entertainment platform, we are actually going towards Web.
The trend has expanded like blazes during last 3-4 years, but the journey of web entertainment platform started in 2007 via Netflix. Yet it was just 11-12 years ago that the company famous for its red-envelope DVD delivery service, first introduced its streaming counterpart “Watch Now,” which launched with just 1,000 titles of debatable desirability and only worked on PCs and Internet Explorer. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was cagily modest about its launch state, even though he knew it would eventually dominate home viewing: He named the company Netflix when it launched in 1997 because he was confident that the internet was the real future, not the mail. Though DVD had a very big market for a very long time. Netflix’s 2007 audience of 6.3 million subscribers were accustomed to DVDs, so better to not alienate them. And the DVD format still reigned:
While Amazon was offering streaming movie rentals, the iTunes store hadn’t yet launched, and DVD revenue had just set a new high in 2006, with around $24 billion in sales and rentals. The phrase “a very long time” is relative in the tech world, where new industries get replaced fast. 2006 would turn out to have been peak DVD, and sales steadily dropped thereafter. Amongst Netflix customers, streaming would surpass DVD use in 2010, leading Hastings to conclude that “a very long time” equalled three years. Sounds interesting?
As mentioned above, to download Watch Now you had to be on Internet Explorer and Windows. (Mac users wouldn’t get access until late 2008, and the iPhone itself didn’t debut until late 2007.) But critics were impressed by this new entertainment platform. Though as per quality it was not same as DVD, but it was close.
We do expect home theatre perfection and largely get it with most titles in HD. Buffering can occasionally be slow, but that’s usually your internet provider’s fault or yours for having too many devices going at once. But to be fair, even if we get all those handicaps worked out, we’ll still never be completely satisfied with Netflix or any new Web stream platform like Amazon and, Hulu, as tech satisfaction is an asymptote.
Now there comes another aspect and the most important one, the CONTENT.
Watch Now first debuted with just 1,000 titles. For those who were then accustomed to being able to pick from its vast DVD library, so, comparatively the compact streaming list likely seemed like a very insulting sample size. But in 10 years, Netflix has become the giant of streaming, not the reason it also increased the content. Also it felt a very good competition from the currently growing platforms like Amazon, which is racing to catch up by devoting $4.5 billion to video this year, so who knows what the streaming landscape will look like in another 10 years? Will Netflix have put the broadcast networks out of business? Will it stream in 3D? Or will it feel to us then the way that MySpace does today?
From viewer’s perspective you have the liberty to choose from various genres of movies, series and from a makers point it gives you freedom. Right now, it’s still out of censorship, but in near future even in web stream freedom might be taken out. Cannes Film festival already banned filming the content of Netflix for different reasons. So challenges also are coming from different areas and it will be there.
But there is no doubt that it’s definitely a platform for those film makers who once struggled to release their movies and had been seen to utter the words …. “One day I will release my film for me and will watch it in my room only”, that “one day” is here to grasp. Everything is unpredictable but as the as the tech savvy generation is constantly in search of something new in online it is obvious that in future Web Series will definitely rule the entertainment world.