What Netflix Could Mean for Mass Culture

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Tim Wu of The New Republic writes about the cultural paradigm shift that Netflix's original programming and release schedule could be bringing about in its wake.

He writes, "History has shown that minor changes in viewing patterns can have enormous cultural spillovers. CNN can average as few as 400,000 viewers at any given moment—but imagine what the country might be like if cable news had never come along. Netflix’s gambit, aped by Amazon Studios and other imitators, is to replace the traditional TV model with one dictated by the behaviors and values of the Internet generation. Instead of feeding a collective identity with broadly appealing content, the streamers imagine a culture united by shared tastes rather than arbitrary time slots. Pursuing a strategy that runs counter to many of Hollywood’s most deep-seated hierarchies and norms, Netflix seeks nothing less than to reprogram Americans themselves. What will happen to our mass culture if it succeeds?"

Read the full story here.

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