Netflix original program more than trend

The idea of a family gathering around the television in the living room for a weekly program is dead.

In this day and age, we watch shows and movies via digital video recorders, computers and streaming services.

In fact, the number of American households with television sets dropped for the first time in 20 years in 2011 according the the Nielsen Company. Television ownership fell from 98.9 percent of American households in 2010 to 96.7 in 2011. Granted each of these households contain 2.5 televisions each according to the Nielsen Company.

Regardless, television prevalence is declining while internet use is on the rise.

Internet use caught up to and eventually surpassed television use in 2010 according to Forrester Research.

The entertainment industry has caught on the this trend and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are now making exclusive programming for their customers and their popularity is almost overwhelming.

Netflix premiered their first original series this past year with “House of Cards,” a political drama starring Kevin Spacey.

Netflix released all 13 episodes at once and the show quickly became the most watched show on the site. Netflix took note of this success and released two more series, “Lilyhammer” and “Hemlock Grove.” The company has six more series set to release across the next two years including the much-anticipated revival season of “Arrested Development.”

Netflix was not the first to explore original series on a subscription service however. Hulu has been producing original series since 2011. Since then, they have produced four series and have another four in the works.

The old model of having to go through a major television network is no longer the only way to produce a series. With more people turning to the internet for movies and television shows, producing content via subscription services may soon become the norm.

Instead of looking at these services as destroying television, they should be seen as the saviors of modern television.

HBO has been using a similar model for years and inherently their content is, on average, of a higher quality that of a typical cable station. Therefore when the internet became more prevalent than television, HBO naturally put their content online for their subscribers and now has more subscriptions than ever.

Just as books have progressed to ebooks, vinyl has transformed into mp3’s and radio broadcasts have evolved into podcasts, so shall television morph into online streaming.