After a brief scare, Netflix bounced back with vengence

Joel Hopkins, Columnist

For many college students, free time is a luxury. It can be difficult to balance the student status with the other important items of our lives, such as part-time jobs, internships, relationships, volunteer groups, clubs, etc.

All of these activities can be time consuming, so it is important to ensure that the movies and TV shows you watch in your free time – in lieu of doing your homework – are of the highest quality.

And for as little as $7.99 a month, a sea of great movies and TV shows can be yours.

Netflix has been an acquaintance of the procrastinator since its inception in 1997, but became his best friend in 2007 when streaming services were implemented.

Over 86 million people now subscribe to Netflix, according to their SEC filings. To give an idea of its popularity, for comparison, Hulu, one of Netflix’s main competitors, sits at just under 12 million subscribers.

Amazon Prime Video, another competitor, has more subscriptions than Hulu, but according to an independent study conducted by CutCableToday, many of those people are Amazon Prime members who don’t use the video service, even though it is included in their Prime membership.

Netflix is clearly beating the other online streaming services, but many predict that it will knock out traditional TV as well.

Personally, after using ad-free Netflix primarily to watch movies and shows, my desire to tune in to regular TV has greatly diminished. And I know I am not alone in this.

Even though there are millions of subscribers – like myself – who love the service to death, it has not always been all rainbows and sunshine for Netflix.

This past summer, the Netflix stock tanked after they added only 1.7 million new subscribers in their second quarter. Although it may sound like a large increase, the number was actually quite low for Netflix.

The company blamed the numbers on consumer overreaction to a small hike in subscription cost that rolled out for customers in the spring. Many people overreacted to this news by calling it the “beginning of the end” for Netflix.

Of course, Netflix bounced back without a problem, adding 3.6 million new subscribers in the third quarter, shooting the Netflix stock higher than it has been in all of 2016.

The small price jump was just not high enough to stop people from wanting in on Netflix’s huge library of well-known movies and shows, in addition to their ever-growing line-up of fantastic originals.

According to their third quarter report, Netflix plans to add over 1,000 hours of original programming next year, up from 600 hours this year. While viewers wait for the new shows, they can binge on the great ones already available such as “Stranger Things,”Black Mirror,”House of Cards,”Narcos,”BoJack Horseman,” and so many more.

Cable and satellite TV know they need to watch out, but according to studies, even some torrenting services should watch their backs.

Research conducted by Netflix suggests that in the past five years, BitTorrent traffic has dropped as Netflix increased in popularity. A majority of BitTorrent’s traffic is used for illegal downloads, and if Netflix truly is the reason for pirating traffic to drop off, it would mean certain inevitable death for traditional TV.

If Netflix is so convenient and appealing that people are choosing it over illegally downloading the programs that they want for free, it is only a matter of time until traditional TV watchers make the switch as well. Many people are holding on for sporting games and possibly local news, but others have gone ahead cut the cord, deeming those few programs not worth the cost.

It’s hard to willingly pay a hundred-plus dollar bill for cable when the cheapest Netflix subscription is only $8 a month, and provides access to thousands of amazing titles, ad-free.

There’s a reason a price hike could not slow down Netflix. The service is fantastic and affordable. So if for some reason you are still not a subscriber, put down that homework and join Netflix, the reigning king of streaming services, and the inevitable cable-killer.


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