Netflix as social phenomenon: what can it give to its audience?

XI Международный конкурс научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
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Netflix as social phenomenon: what can it give to its audience?

Елисеев М.А. 1
1МОУ Раменская СОШ №5
Прощаева Ю.С. 1
1МОУ "Раменская СОШ №5"


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Introduction

Nowadays there are a lot of serials or series that can transfer us into different situations, starting from everyday school life and ending in an adventurous tour around the universe. These kinds of TV programs are gaining popularity all over the world. Netflix streaming service is the leader of the industry and it has a huge audience. Communicating with my classmates and friends, I noticed that they have a big interest towards Netflix’s serials, they definitely watch them, discuss latest episodes, sing soundtracks. We can call Netflix a great influencer, so there arouses a question: what does it give to its audience, how does it change people’s and especially teenager’s minds.

Netflix

Netflix is a streaming service that allows its members to watch a wide variety of TV shows and serials on thousands of internet-connected devices. With Netflix, you can enjoy unlimited ad-free content. There's always something new to discover, and more TV shows, movies and serials are added every month. The company was established in 1997 by Reed Hastings (later Ted Sarandos became a co-manager) who developed it from a local video rental store into a huge and promising service. Movie from mail was born.

In 2013 Netflix made first steps in creating its own original content and released “House of cards”. This serial has proven to be a wildly successful show and since then the service has been creating more and more original serials. Today Netflix has 8 billion in original content. In comparison, the six largest Hollywood production companies comprised of Disney, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Sony and Paramount Pictures released 106 films in 2016.

It’s a pretty important media platform. Netflix can take advantage of their social platform by encouraging learning other languages and becoming familiar with other cultures. In a way, it’s a very pure form of diversity.

Serials

Let’s have a look at its products. We picked up 15 serials the service included in the top of most popular serials on Netflix.com/ru. These products brought a popularity to the service and below there is a brief description of each of them. We can review and compare them.

1. House of cards. The serials shows us the life of an outstanding politician, his career, family, his ruthless political games and their rules.

2. Las chicas del cable. (Cable girls) The show tells about the hard destiny of women, restriction of their rights and unworthy relation towards them.

3. The two popes. A story showing to the audience that all of us are just human beings and even the leader of the church may have his own desires and drawbacks.

4. Peaky blinders. A story about a complicated life of a smart person with criminal background.

5. I’m not okay with this. The serial describing a psychological condition of a teenager, his emotions, feelings and priorities.

6. Atlered Carbon. A sci-fi project arousing a problem of the value of a human life and people’s attitude towards it.

7. The crown. A serial about an extraordinary life of a remarkable woman.

8. Sex education. Another project about teenagers, their feeling and attitude towards the world around them.

9. Riverdale. A detective story about life of teenagers and their families in a small remote town.

10. Narcos. A serial revealing the problem of drugs in our world, based on a real story of Pablo Escobar.

11. Stranger things. A fantastic, sci-fi drama about teenagers facing pure evil in the atmosphere of the 80’s.

12. Euphoria. The serial about loneliness of teenagers, problems of addictions and dark sides of a human soul.

13. The Witcher. A fantasy series of novels about a beast hunter with supernatural abilities trying to help people.

Comparison

Analyzing the description of the serials we can divide the list into two groups. The first group includes the serials with complicated structure, a variety of characters and a deep meaning. Meanwhile the second group includes the films for relaxation, with rather shallow plot; they can be watched mostly for entertaining purposes.

The question is what group is more popular and why.

Survey

I made a survey among the pupils of 9B and 9G classes about the popularity of the service and the serials.

It included 50 students.

1) Know what Netflix is : 32

2) watch Netflix serials:27

«Good»:

 

«Shallow»

 

House of Cards

7

Riverdale

20

Las Chicas del Cable

3

Sex education

18

The two popes

3

Narcos

10

Peaky blinders

9

Strangers things

25

I’m not OK with this

6

Euphoria

22

Altered Carbon

4

The Whitcher

24

The crown

4

   

 

As you can see, Netflix service is known by Russian teenagers and entertaining shallow serials are more popular among them.

We also asked the teenagers about the reasons why they prefer to watch one or another serial. The most popular answers were:

I like the main characters and the actors

They help me to relax after a hard day

They are describing the world of teenagers and their life

They tell about friendship and love

They are rather thrilling and keep glued to the screen

They transfer to an imaginary world and its helps to distract from everyday problems

They reflect the problems of our society

They give us experience that can be very useful in a real world.

So as you can see people and teenagers nowadays are not very interested in complicated serials. That is rather sad but we cannot judge them. Not everyone is ready to immerse in difficult plots like in the “House of cards”. They want to relax, to lay back on the sofa and forget about problems of the day without deep thoughts about things happening on the screen.

On the other hand, entertaining serials are not that awful, as they may seem. They are vivid, colorful and expressive. There we can find good ideas and values like the price of friendship, love, life priorities and certainly, they are mostly aimed at teenagers’ audience.

Conclusion

Netflix is the No. 1 video streaming service. It is a pretty important media platform. It has a great influence on society and teenagers are a huge part of its audience. Netflix is known in Russia but for a while is not so popular as in the USA and other countries. In our country it is rather popular among teenagers and there is a chance that its popularity will grow and people will be interested in their development.

Netflix is creating hundreds of serials every year and the most popular genre is teenager’s serials, dramas and fantasies. Streaming these products is rather profitable, entertaining films help the company to earn money. Thanks to those profitable shallow serials, the company gets a chance to finance other interesting and deep projects. In my opinion, the market is overloaded with soap operas about love and many directors have a desire to create something bigger. So let’s hope that money received from numerous empty shells one day would let them spread wings.

Also, by creating a global communication, the streaming service is making contact through a unique lens to provide deeper understandings of other countries. The internet is continuing to create bonds between very different people.

Literature:

1. https://netflix.com

2.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix

3. https://www.queensjournal.ca/story/2015-10-15/lifestyle/the-netflix-chill-phenomenon/

4. https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-1-thing-preventing-netflix-from-creating-an-authentic-cultural-phenomenon.html/

5.https://medium.com/@benjaminnussbaum/the-netflix-phenomenon-bd5974528cba

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