Companies Make Online-Only Content

Cameron White, Online Editor

Over the past ten years, computers and smart phones have slowly started to reshape the way people consume media. Before the dawn of the modern technological age, most people viewed TV shows live or recorded them on a VCR or Tivo. If they wanted to watch a movie, they saw it in theaters or waited for its release date to buy or rent it. For many Americans, these methods of entertainment access remain mostly the same, but for people who are growing up now or in the future, these methods are thought to be obsolete. In the eyes of current and future generations, the next major method of media consumption will be through the internet.

The widespread use of computers, smart phones and the like for viewing television shows and movies has been something that our society has been inevitably moving towards. While the major studios like 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Paramount have decided to stick to their old fashioned methods of media dispersal, companies like Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft, who were all born in the technological age, have decided to take a step in a different direction. Netflix has already released several online-only shows, one television show titled “House of Cards” has met great success. Shortly after its release, the drama quickly became the most watched streaming content on Netflix. With several successful shows already released, Netflix has plans to release four more shows this year, including the long-awaited reboot of “Arrested Development,” which became available starting May 26.

Amazon currently has 30 shows in the development stage. Instead of independently making the decision of which shows will be produced, they’ve decided to let the viewers decide. Based on number of views and amount of positive feedback, Amazon will choose which shows will make it to full production. Amazon’s prospective shows include a range of comedy series and children’s programs. Of these shows, the most notable is “Zombieland,” which is an adaptation of the 2009 comedy/horror film that received positive reviews and strong box office sales. Pilot episodes for all of Amazon’s potential series can be viewed on AmazonStudios.com.

Microsoft’s contribution to the growing online-content industry is paltry in comparison to that of Netflix and Amazon, however they’ve only just begun to consider the idea of producing original content. Last week at the Xbox One showcase, Microsoft announced their intention to produce an original Halo series with the help of movie giant Steven Spielberg. Whether or not Microsoft will ever become a full-scale online content provider like Netflix and Amazon still remains unknown.

While the amount of original content currently available to consumers may be limited, it’s likely that in just a few years much more online original content will be available, and companies like Netflix and Amazon will be able to compete with traditional networks. An increasing number of people are watching shows online, and the demand for online content is only rising. Perhaps one day in the near future online content will become the accepted norm for the viewing of shows and movies.