An Ode To Netflix (No Chill Desired)

August 2, 2018

So we’re moving houses – again (that could be a separate post all to itself). Along with all kinds of stuff unearthed beneath the family room couch, we discovered this: a mailer Netflix DVD from some time in yesteryear. A moment of panic set in until I realized that our unpaid late charges actually outlived Netflix’s DVD business. Phew.

But it is amazing how that company just keeps reinventing itself, while others can’t keep up. Evidence for the prosecution: Blockbuster. Check out the last remaining store in Bend, Oregon.

I can’t believe that I was alive before movie rentals and on-demand TV or, that I used to have to go to Blockbuster – on cold winter nights, especially. I mean, that could be rough. You turn up all happy and optimistic just to have your evening ruined when the five copies of L.A Confidential are all out and you are stuck with Face Off. (I’m lying, it was the other way around.) What on earth did we do before Blockbuster? Wait forever for our favorite movies to trickle onto the air on regular, old TV? How bleak.

The future arrived in red envelopes in 1998. Netflix. Three movie disks would speed to your door with a few clicks of the mouse. Sooo exciting. We were early adopters and told everyone about this amazing new service, including friends in the UK, where it took seven long years to launch. Poor Brits.

Back here, Netflix took off: 700,000 subscribers in 2002 became 3.6 million in 2005. Then two years later – BOOM – Netflix introduced streaming, a move that killed its own core business in a couple of years. That’s bold.

And then just a few years ago, Netflix reinvented itself again when it lost a huge chunk of its library and rights to upstarts like Hulu and Amazon. When Netflix dropped every episode of the first season of House of Cards into our laps, circa 2013, it invented the national pastime of binge watching. Now we’ve got Glow, Orange Is The New Black, The Crown, Stranger Things, and, well, endless options.

Netflix bounced back to be valued more highly than Disney. Disney!

What’s next for movies and TV? Whatever it is, bring it on. I just cut the cord with Comcast and am dancing a jig on our old cable box. Buh-bye. Now just got to find that DVD player around here somewhere. You’ve Got Mail is waiting.