“It’s Happening A Lot Faster Than Any of Us Thought.”

This week’s topic of conversation is quite appropriate, considering I have been spending the last three hours trying to get a live stream of the 86th Academy Awards Ceremony. It is fitting, for the dual purposes of referencing live streaming popularity and the exclusion of several classic films in this new digital online environment.

Dixon discusses Netflix’s pressure to accomodate either everything or a very select collection of films on their database.

What about all the classic films that aren’t available as streaming video? In essence, they will cease to exist. Netflix is banking on the fact that most people have no real knowledge of film history, so they’ll con- tent themselves with streaming only the most recent and popular films. This is something akin to Amazon deciding to do away with physical books altogether and offering everything only on Kindle. No doubt Amazon is thinking about this possibility and would love to do it, but this would marginalize hundreds of thousands of books. Netflix is doing the same thing with films (Dixon, 5).

Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneThis is a problem for students like me, ones who love to watch older films that are difficult to find online. On the other hand, fans of older films might be more likely to enjoy older methods of watching films. I don’t expect to find everything I might be interested in watching on Netflix, so I have a very hefty DVD collection. Does old fashioned production call for old fashioned exhibition? I’m curious as to whether Netflix has this idea in mind.

And as streaming video becomes more popular, content providers are charging more for the rights to stream their films, convinced, as Gruenwedel rightly is, that streaming will become the dominant technology. But with a relatively small number of films available for streaming downloads even in late 2012, compared with the numerous titles available on DVD, Netflix is reluctantly stuck with the physical digital format for the foreseeable future and has only two choices in the end: stream everything, or lose its customer base. 108

Dixon continues to discuss the responsibility held by the big names of technological transitions such as this. Netflix, among other streaming sites, is stuck with the substantial cost of online streaming video. Since there is such a vast collection of films that exist on DVD, it seems difficult to believe that Netflix, with its limited collection, would have as much success as it has had thus far.

I had lots of online streaming experience during the Olympics. NBC Sports conveniently allowed me to pop in my Cablevision username and password in order for me to access full coverage of the games. This is a smart tactic, one I am surprised more networks have not taken advantage of yet. This way, the network can still maintain when and where their viewers are watching.

This variety in which video content can be viewed has film makers concerned:

Added maverick director Karyn Kusama, “As someone who hopes to have the ability to keep making small movies alongside the opportunity to make some bigger ones, I am concerned by how much a shortened VOD window might affect a filmmaker like me. This shortened window might imperil the robustness, and challenge the already shrinking flexibility in programming, of the very venue that makes movie-making, and movie-watching, the work we choose to do.” (Dixon, 66).

As with everything, there are benefits and faults to every change. Dixon also mentions how the globalized internet promotes creativity and discussion in a universal manner.

With more films, videos, television programs, and Internet films being produced than ever before, and with international image boundaries crumbling thanks to the pervasive influence of the World Wide Web, the coming years will bring an explosion of voices from around the globe. In a more democratic process, even the most marginalized factions of society will have a voice, no matter what new business models are brought into play. As Wikipedia’s “blackout” of January 18, 2012, proved, the web has a great ability to democratize itself and to make its intentions known to the public, to businesspeople, and to legislators (Dixon, 13).

HULUPlusshadowSo the fact of it remains, older films may not be always available online, but exciting new content is being created every day. More than that, these new additions to the creative world wide web can be added by anyone. Though I love the classics, it is very exciting that we all can have the opportunity to contribute.
Dixon, Wheeler W. 1950- Author. Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, 2013. PDF.
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  1. […] filmmaking are iconically indicative of the  discussion in Dixon’s book. While reading Sara’s post, I felt annoyed on her behalf; with the immense access that digital technologies provides us, it […]

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