Wednesday, January 15, 2014

On Demand

I use Netflix but no other streaming services. I'm still considering adding HULU because they have more TV that I'd like to watch and they seem to be more current than Netflix in that department. I also get DVDs from Netflix because, well, because not everything streams all the time.

Case in point: a lot of anime, American cartoons from the 80s and 90s (mostly WB stuff) and quite a few films that I saw only once or twice and would like to see again.

Yesterday I went searching the video store down the street from my house (one of only three in a college town!) for a copy of the 1954 version of Animal Farm. Yeah, Animal Farm. I would have taken the 1999 Henson remake but I wanted to show my son the animated version I saw when I was a kid. He'd never been taught the book in school - which seemed odd now even though the USSR is broken up it's STILL relevant - and we'd make an event of it. 

They didn't have either one. Okay, I kind of understand the store not having it because it's not really popular. Fortunately, Netflix did. But only on DVD. Again, not a problem for me because I do both. 

But it got me thinking again how - even with the Internet and the digital revolution - some films are just not easily accessible. Due to everyone wanting a piece of the pie and the few companies engaging in digital delivery, it all comes down to money. 

Sure, 85 episodes of Macross streaming is A LOT, I get it. But would it pay for itself if you could offer it that way? Maybe. I know Doctor Who does, even the classic stuff, and probably hundreds of other TV shows. And yes, I understand that it costs money to stream everything. That's a lot of storage especially when you've got distribution centers all across the country already. I get it.

So it makes sense to have the double option. Stuff you've already got on DVD you're sending through the mail via USPS - who I'm on record thinking of as invaluable - doesn't necessarily need to be streaming. So when I get disc after disc of Batman The Animated Series delivered to my house it's almost like Christmas.

People binge-watch stuff now, though. Yeah, we used to do the all-day Star Wars marathons with our VHS tapes and a couple cases of beer back in the day but that was an event. Something pretty special. Every day I know people who watch four or five episodes of a series (or more) streaming. 

Maybe Netflix is watching out for us? Maybe we're being told we shouldn't be sitting for as many hours as we like watching TV and that's why the Macross Saga and Batman aren't streaming?

Nah. It's money. 

So they get my money and my local video stores are gone. Stores that used to curate to tastes are replaced by the Internet. Stores where I used to visit and walk around for half an hour or more are gone.  Where I used to rent three or four movies at a time to binge-watch on a Sunday afternoon I can stay sat on my ass and just click a button now to watch all thirteen episodes of House of Cards. But I'll have to walk out to the mailbox to get my DVD of The Handmaid's Tale when it comes.


Signing off. 

I've gotta get up and walk around.

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