Netflix’s Impact On Cinema

Watching cinemas has historically been a solely communal experience that would bring families and communities together. The cinema, by that standard, was a shared space where every viewer’s responses to the amplification of sound and visuals were affected, if not neatly mapped onto the other viewer. Despite the efforts of cynophobic individuals, people only steered away from the cinema once streaming platforms began to penetrate the market. This also placed conditions on who could view the cinema precisely; audiences who could easily purchase an economy-clas ticket didn’t know where to watch their films.

Another aspect of the shift to Netflix that drastically changed how a film was viewed was the shrinking of the screen, which now meant more choices for the individual to fast-track, skip and rewind scenes. This fractured the communal cinema-watching tradition by limiting audiences to the comfort of their homes and making their responses much more individualized. For the longest time, TV and cinema screens were thought of as propaganda because the user could not watch the content they wished to watch at the time they wanted to watch it. Netflix’s launch of movie recommendations depending on users’ streaming data in the 2000s allowed for more significant user interaction by predicting the user’s preferences.

Getty images/DigitalVision/Kathrin Ziegler

To think the spotlight was moved over to consumer interests entirely would be debatable because there might have been more interactive technology. Still, the choice of content remained at the discretion of those who structured the algorithms. By using confirmation bias, new streaming platforms made the user believe that the content was exclusively ‘for them,’ but in fact, if they were to search for what they were to watch, the two might showcase very different results.

This also then uncovers a more extensive surveillance for the creation of similar, differences removed cohesive global audiences. Everyone can relate to everything. Cross-cultural exchanges become so common that they might as well be removed from their initial intentions to understand people for their culturally specific lives. The relatability of media content, which existed and flourished through the cinema-going culture, is now doomed to suffer, with content becoming shallow and removed from its roots.

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