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Friday, March 31, 2023

There used to be a time when movie rental stores roamed free across this vast land. Blockbuster would graze happily on its nourishing customer base. Rival species Hollywood Video would gladly pick up the scraps.

But those wonderful days are gone, dear reader. Now, all over America, you can find carcasses and skeletons of those once beautiful animals. Some of those carcasses have become new homes for cute animals like Panera Bread, Sherwin Williams Paint Store and the endangered species RadioShack.

With the rise of apex predators Netflix and HBO Go, Blockbuster didn’t stand a chance. Video rental stores simply could not fight back the ferocious jagged teeth that is the online video streaming service. But Netflix and HBO Go haven’t even fully evolved. They are just the ancestors of a new beast yet to come. And when it comes, it will be snarling, drooling and very hungry. What prey will this new creature consume? And how?

With Netflix adding its own content regularly to its repertoire, it’s looking to defeat television and become this metaphysical creature capable of not only creating content but also broadcasting. This is the final form of entertainment evolution. Netflix and HBO Go started as rats, sniveling around and eating scraps, but they have evolved and have transcended to, dare I say it, gods.

This process was simple. Because Netflix and similar services are streaming, they’re accessible on pretty much every multimedia device: phones, tablets, computers, smart TVs and even some refrigerators (what a time to be alive). After the convenience factor became too much, Blockbuster dwindled into the abyss. Netflix no longer had competition; it had eradicated it. There was only one thing left to do: destroy television as well. How would Netflix do that? Simple: by providing its own content.

This is how Netflix exclusives came to be. Soon, other streaming services followed suit. Amazon Prime got “Annedroids,” “Catastrophe” and “Transparent.” Hulu hosts “The Mindy Project” and “The Path.” Netflix has “BoJack Horseman,” “Daredevil,” the fourth season of “Arrested Development,” which is an Alligator favorite, “House of Cards,” Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” “Stranger Things” and “Orange is the New Black,” among others. Many of these shows are quite entertaining and thought provoking, and some are downright hysterical. Many of them have won recognition. “Transparent” won a Golden Globe. “House of Cards” was nominated for more than 30 Emmy Awards.

Content-streaming websites, specifically Netflix, are not only reaching their final form, but they’re also going in for the kill. When they strike, not only will the TV industry have to defend itself, but even the movie industry will as well. They are redefining how we as consumers “consume” and are setting new rules by which TV executives have to play. If you really want to make it, you no longer go to a studio to pitch a show; you go to a streaming service instead. Anyone with $3 can buy an HDMI cable and plug his or her computer right into the TV. Soon, mediums like cable and satellite are going to be things of the past, and even networks are going to have to adapt to this new system or die.

HBO’s situation is an example of a “change-or-die” mindset. HBO changed and started producing its own content — “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts, rejoice. Unless you’re watching live sports, which is more enjoyable at a bar with friends anyway, there’s no need for you to have a subscription to a cable or satellite provider.

Netflix has evolved. It’s learning. If you’re a consumer, it will lure you in — that much is inevitable. If you’re a competitor, you have two choices: adapt for survival, or risk death.

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