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31 January, 2018

Medium Analysis on Movie Viewing Services and Technologies

In this paper I will be discussing the evolution of movie viewing services and technologies using Netflix as a case study. I will explore two research questions; how the evolution of movie viewing services and technologies has changed technological designs, and how it has affected the movie viewing experience over time.

Movie viewing technologies and services are the devices that allow us to watch movies and the ways we obtain these movies. Movie viewing services and technologies have taken many forms throughout the years. From movie theatre (cinema) to television to video home system (VHS) the compact disc (CD), and finally to online streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu. These movie viewing technologies also took on movie viewing services; film reel/projector to cable to videocassette recorder(VCR) to DVD player to mobile device/PC respectively. As technologies changed, social behaviors did as well as there was now a way to watch movies form the comfort of your home.

The evolution of movie viewing services and technologies affected both small and large technology. For example, the MacBook as well as many other PCs have undergone changes to their technical design or specifications. Laptops are getting smaller and thinner with time and the MacBook is no exception. It is understandable that as the devices get smaller, some features will have to change or be removed. The CD/optical drive feature that was a necessity for older models of the MacBook are now extinct. More and more laptops are designed without the allowance of a CD compartment because DVDs have become less important. Designers of these devices assume their users will be streaming their movies online, not buying DVDs and they’re not wrong. Lee Rainie conducted a survey on the primary way young adults watch TV. The survey revealed that, “about six-in-ten of those ages 18 to 29 (61%) say the primary way they watch television now is with streaming services on the internet, compared with 31% who say they mostly watch via a cable or satellite subscription” (2017). More and more people are watching their movies online and so CD drives are slowly but surely disappearing from PC designs. “As a digital product, the DVD film market has a short product life cycle; with considerable novelty value at the beginning, followed by a brief maturity phase and a rapid decline as new films supersede old ones” (Bauger, 2016).

Netflix is a good example of remediation. Bolter says, “new media forms do not simply spring into existence, but are instead outgrowths of technologies, techniques, and practices of older media” (2014). He also says,

“Newer and older media forms continue to borrow from one another as long as they remain part of a flourishing media economy. Remediation describes all the various relationships of cooperation and competition, rivalry and homage, and can involve form as well as content” (2014).

Netflix started off as a DVD rental service and refashioned into an online streaming service. Netflix is seen as “new media” but it started off as what people would consider, “old media” now.

“Netflix is the best example of company evolution, over the years technology has dramatically changed, and Netflix always evolved and adapted to market. When people slowly started to demand to access content via internet, Netflix developed a game plan for covering that demand. In 2006 Netflix introduced its online service, and while DVD market rapidly shrinked Netflix continue to grow” (Cloudnames, 2017).

 An example of how the evolution of movie viewing services and technologies is described in a report on Netflix conducted by Chris Thompson. He detailed,

“What made this assignment even more interesting to Chris was that Netflix was a company he knew quite well. Many times he had watched a movie with his family or friends that had arrived via mail in the little red envelope. Since going to college, instead of ordering movies, he would just plug-in his iPod and stream a movie or a TV show” (Allen, 2014).

As movie viewing services and technologies evolved, Netflix evolved with it.

There is also a social impact made by the evolution of movie viewing services and technologies. It caused panic in society. There was a fear that because of the new technologies, cinema would die out. Atwood wrote, “The development of video cassettes and the popularity of video players commodified movies as material objects and relocated the site of movie spectatorship away from dark movie theaters and into the home” (2016). As every new technology emerged, the fear that cinema will be a thing of the past persisted. More people watch their movies at home than in the cinema. A survey taken by the Pew Research Center states that, “more than seven-in-ten adults (71%) watch at least one movie a week, but the great bulk of this viewing occurs at home rather than in a theater” (2016).

The changes in social activities are connected to the evolution of movie viewing services and technologies as well.  Where there used the be “Blockbuster nights”, there is now “Netflix and chill.” Both of them mean the same thing but the services provided are different. They both indicate a date night. When DVDs were still widely popular, Blockbuster, a DVD rental service was popular as well. A typical Blockbuster night would consist of going to Blockbuster, browsing through movies, renting them, and taking it back home to watch for a casual date. Nowadays, there is the ‘meme-worthy,’ “Netflix and chill” and it means the same thing except you watch the movie through an online streaming service on your laptop or smart TV.

The evolution of movie viewing services and technologies has changed society and technology. It has had a huge impact on how devices are designed and how we do things as a society. It is a “new media” that has been remediated from “old media.” I do not think that remediation of movie viewing services and technologies will stop because we are always looking for the next big thing in digital media and technology. The search for something faster, cheaper, more efficient, more durable, and more economical is continuous. Regardless of how much these services and technologies change, I doubt that going to the cinema will become a thing of the past because cinema-going is an entirely different experience from watching a movie at home.












Works Cited

Allen, Grace, et al. “The rise and fall of Netflix: what happened and where will it go from here?” Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, vol. 20, no. 1, 2014, p. 135+. Academic OneFile,

Atwood, Blake. “Home video and the death of cinema: notes from the Lebanese civil war, 1975-1990.” Post Script, Summer 2016, p. 80+. Academic OneFile,

Baugher, D., Noh, S., & Ramos, C. (2016). “The relationship of online Netflix user reviews to day to sale for new DVDs on Amazon”. Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, 20, 149-161. Retrieved from

Bolter, J.D. (2014). “Remediation.” In Ryan, M.L., Emerson, L., and Robertsone, B. (eds),

Johns Hopkins Guide to Digital Media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 427-429.

Cloudnames. (2018). “How Netflix transformed from DVD rental to Global Internet TV.” Cloudnames blog,

Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project. (2018). “Increasingly, Americans Prefer Going to the Movies at Home.”

Rainie, L. (2018). “About 6 in 10 young adults in U.S. primarily use online streaming to watch TV.” Pew Research Center,


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