PARVEEN BHAMBRA 

Due to our new and advanced digital age, we have begun watching our muchloved episodes of The Office and Homeland on streaming websites like Netflix. When we weren’t given the cable opportunity in the United Kingdom, Netflix brought the greatness that is Breaking Bad to our eyes through a streamed medium. The streaming giant has even managed to create their very own original productions, series ranging from dark comedies like Orange is the New Black to political dramas like House of Cards and mythical historical dramas like Marco Polo. Now it is time to celebrate the fact that Netflix is sweeping through homes in UK as a number one form of watching and enjoying TV shows. It’s not just Netflix that’s taking over the nation, but also Hulu and Amazon Instant Video (one of the official sponsors of Sundance Film Festival 2015).

As of January 2015, Netflix has 57.4 million subscribers, 5.5 of which are UK subscribers. According to the transcript of monthly Netflix Earnings Call, as provided by Thomson Reuters Streetevents, a total of 50 countries access the streaming site. These statistics are forever growing as a result of its height in popularity, inexpensive rates and an all-round good selection of viewing material. Case in point, the number of UK subscribes rose considerably from 1 million in 2012 to what it is now: 5.5 million. For £5.99 a month in the UK and $7.99 in the US, which is soon to rise by £/$1, you can’t go wrong.Cable and TV companies are in for a shocking decline in their customers as viewers throw out the whole television and Sky/Freeview/Virgin hassle and instead glue themselves to the up and coming technologies of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video. Soon everybody will be looking down their noses at TV sets and cable-broadcasting services, in favour for even more advanced digital age of watching.

Furthermore, it’s not like the productions that these services have generated are subpar. House of Cards made its mark in the industry of Hollywood entertainment when it garnered multiple prestigious nominations at award ceremonies and festivals. It won three Primetime Emmy’s, including Best Direction and Best Drama, in 2013. With Netflix outbidding famed networks like HBO and Showtime to have this show a part of their name, it didn’t take long for their other shows, like Hemlock Grove and Orange is the New Black to be welcomed with similar reactions, with the latter generating more hours viewed in its first week than any other Netflix original series. Marco Polo was met with mixed reviews, but held its own long enough to garner a second season renewal. Backtracking to Breaking Bad, Netflix has continued the Walter White buzz by creating a prequel series. The highly anticipated series, Better Call Saul, follows the life of our favoruite crooked two-bit lawyer, Saul Goodman. Future projects confirmed include the Marvel Television/Netflix collaboration for a five-season deal of live-action series focusing on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Obviously, Netflix has provided its viewers with shows of diverse genres and stories, and a superhero deal is just a must, so thumbs up to that.

But Netflix is not the only streaming site that is at the height of its expertise, with Hulu’s diverse set of original programming: the documentary web series ‘A Day in the Life’ and Kevin Smith’s movie discussion show ‘Spoilers’. Amazon Instant Video also has the critically acclaimed Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor from his previous Netflix-produced Arrested Development fame.

Streaming sites are becoming the new norm of viewing entertainment in this new digital age, but lets not forget that television has played an influential role in our lives. It has provided us with the ability to watch international programming as well as the tradition of watching Eastenders on Christmas day with the whole family. So, we will see where these new technologies take us in the upcoming years. This is simply the beginning.