BY SHRUTI RAM – STAFF WRITER
It’s safe to assume that the word doesn’t bring confusion or unfamiliarity—in fact, you are probably thinking about your favorite show to binge watch right now. Millions of subscribers consider watching Netflix religiously a hobby, and Centre College students are no exception.
One would be hard-pressed to find a fellow student who does not use Netflix. Many students have televisions in their room, but, rather than using them to watch shows on cable, it’s more likely that these televisions are being used more for video games or to play DVDs.
“I have a TV in my room, but I definitely use my laptop more than my TV partly because I can access Netflix shows whenever I want,” junior Mimi Phan said. “It’s way too easy to binge on your favorite shows.”
Some students prefer Netflix to television because it’s easier to watch their favorite TV shows when they find a moment of free time, rather than planning their work and meetings around a set time block on cable TV. Additionally, students can watch their favorite shows in smaller segments rather than hour-long chunks.
“I use [my TV] mostly to watch Netflix,” junior Mitchell Esterle said. “I prefer it because it allows me to watch shows on my own time with no time slot commitment. I can start and finish an episode at my own pace.”
“I was never an avid TV watcher,” junior Jillian Riseman said, “and even when I found a show I liked, I usually couldn’t keep up because of scheduling or homework. Netflix allows me to go back and catch up on things I probably missed.”
Netflix has come a long way from when it was first launched in 1999.
“When we first got Netflix, it was the DVD-in-your-home-mailbox version which was super exciting,” Riseman said. “I would hack into my dad’s account and change the order of our queue so the movies I wanted to see would come in first. I was a terrible child. But it was always exciting when a new DVD would come in the mail.”
By 2009, Netflix had surpassed 10 million subscribers to its streaming services and now offers more than 100,000 movies and televisions shows, but even without its statistics, it’s hard to deny the popularity of Netflix, and a big part of that seems to be due to its variety and convenience.
“I think the lack of commercials speaks to a lot of people,” junior Alicia Kalbfleisch said. “I very rarely have time to watch TV anymore, and [Netflix] caters to so many different people and has so many seasons for all their television shows.”
One’s favorite shows can give insight into a person’s life and interests, and perhaps a person’s watch list on Netflix can say more about them than a simple conversation. Although there are notable favorites that come to mind, such as Orange is the New Black and Parks and Recreation, many people who enjoy watching Netflix differ in which shows and genres show up on their favorites list.
“[My] favorite show is hard to choose, but I guess I’d have to say Doctor Who,” Esterle said.
Some students, however, prefer to watch movies on Netflix.
“With TV shows, I get really attached to the characters and then I’m up at three a.m. on a school night watching Chandler propose to Monica,” Riseman said. “Movies are a lot less involved and time consuming. I don’t feel obligated to watch more than one movie at a time, but I almost always end up watching four or five TV episodes when I only intended to watch one.”
“I really like sports documentaries and hearing the perspectives from athletes,” Kalbfleisch said, “though I love Disney movies too!”
From the lack of commercials, to variety in televisions shows and movies, and the ease of access in both time and place, it doesn’t seem to be a surprise that Netflix took the world by storm and is making it harder for cable television and other streaming services to compete.
“There’s literally nothing bad about Netflix,” Riseman, who is studying abroad this semester, said. “I can even access it while I’m in Mexico!”