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Ebersole 1Amy EbersoleCTCS 587Professor Seiter13 May 2013From Netflix to Netflixed:Digital Television Production in the Post-TV Platinum Age of the AudienceI. From Netflix to NetflixedThere is no doubt Netflix changed the way we watch movies. This essay takes a lookat the industrial, technological, and television production and consumption changes fromthe late 1990s to the present through the lens of Netflix’s history. I review Gina Keating’sNetflixed: The Battle for America’s Eyeballsto provide information about the shiftingbusiness strategies of Netflix from its 1997 birth to its rebranding and Quickstermarketing disaster that caused its stocks and reputation to plummet in late 2011 (IndexFinance Image I). Other than reviewing Keating’s book, I also examine research collectedfrom industry trade journals to pick up where Keating’s book leaves off to fill the timegap from 2012 to the Netflix original series release ofHouse of Cardsin 2013. Thisparticular time periodis important as it takes a look at Netflix during its post-Quicksterdrop from almost $300 a share to a shockingly $53 a share to its move toward originaltelevision production and international expansion that increased its stocks to currentlyaround $200 a share (Index Finance Image I). Lastly, I pull in contemporary mediadiscourse of leading theorists such as Henry Jenkins, Amanda Lotz, Lynn Spigel, andVincent Mosco to theorize about this particular time period.The purpose of synthesizing a literature review of Keating’s book and industry andacademic articles is to illuminate post-network trends and discourses of audienceempowerment, digitalization of media, globalization, media franchise development, andthe use of data mining to predict audience behavior. I argue that while Netflix carved the
Ebersole 2way for the industry adoption of the then-new DVD format in the late 1990s andpioneered the move toward instant digital entertainment streaming, unless it — like TimeWarner Inc.’s Home Box Office (HBO) and other premium subscription channelscompeting to keep viewers subscribed month-to-month — continues to produce high-quality original content, it may be destined to be crushed by a flood of new competitorsarmed with deeper pockets and wider media networks. Media conglomerates and theirsubsidiaries are adopting strategies for monetizing and producing original series, digitallydistributing them on ancillary channels, and shaping interactive online spaces thatencourage fans to more deeply interact and participate with the world of the series onmultiple media platforms and social networks.Broadcast and basic cable offer weekly releases of television series that foster“watercooler” conversation and attract fans who communally watch episodes live. Dealsmade between advertising agencies and studio executives during the Upfronts use theNielson Rating System as an industry standard for equating live audience eyeballs with