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Netflix at the Nexus

Content, Practice, and Production in the Age of Streaming Television

Edited By Theo Plothe and Amber M. Buck

Netflix’s meteoric rise as an online content provider has been well documented and much debated in the popular press and in academic circles as an industry disrupter, while also blamed for ending TV’s "Golden Age." For academic researchers, Netflix exists at the nexus of multiple fields: internet research, information studies, media studies, and television and has an impact on the creation of culture and how individuals relate to the media they consume. Netflix at the Nexus examines Netflix’s broad impact on technology and television from multiple perspectives, including the interface, the content, and user experiences. Chapters by leading international scholars in television and internet studies provide a transnational perspective on Netflix’s changing role in the media landscape. As a whole, this collection provides a comprehensive consideration of the impact of streaming television.

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Introduction: Netflix at the Nexus (Amber M. Buck / Theo Plothe)

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INTRODUCTION

Netflix at the Nexus

Amber M. Buck and Theo Plothe

When Netflix launched its DVD rental by mail business on April 14, 1998, there were few indications that the company would win an Emmy in 2013 for Television Directing, for David Fincher’s “Episode 1” of House of Cards. At the time, the home entertainment media landscape was dominated by video rental brick and mortar stores like Blockbuster and cable television. Netflix’s move first to a monthly subscription model and second to online video streaming capitalized on technological changes and infrastructure upgrades like broadband to innovate the film, television, and technology industries in ways that are still evolving. Netflix has been praised as the future of television (Auletta, 2014) and as “the most feared force in Hollywood” (Villarreal & James, 2016), while also decried as the end of “TV’s Golden Age” and blamed for ushering in an era where “TV shows may be briefer, lower-budget and filled with the kind of product-placement ads that audiences hate and advertisers pay for” (Thielman, 2016).

Netflix has become the industry-leading video streaming platform in a way that makes its name synonymous with the concept. It has inspired new terms for cultural practices, from “binge-watching” and “cord cutting,” to even “Netflix and chill.” These terms reflect the ways that Netflix has changed television viewers’ practices and connections with the media they consume. ← 1 | 2 → While DVD box sets first made this practice a...

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