If there is one company that could be credited with revolutionizing how we watch movies and TV series, it is undoubtedly Netflix. The online video streaming service has entered our vocabulary, has made it possible for us to watch countless hours of streaming content on the go, and has made waves in the industry with its novel approach to entertainment.
Everybody seems to be signing up to Netflix, so what exactly do you get when you subscribe to the service?
Convenience – but with a Catch
First and foremost, Netflix is about two things: great content and convenience. This stellar combination has made it a leader in the entertainment field – Netflix is responsible for 15% of global internet traffic, even ahead of other web applications like YouTube at 11.4% and Amazon Prime Video at 3.7%. Convenience needs no explanation really; with Netflix you can watch great shows from the comfort of your couch and even download to watch offline when you travel with the Netflix app. Yet, if you are an avid traveler, you will soon find that content is not the same across countries. The Netflix library can vary dramatically when you travel abroad, as content copyright and broadcasting rights can change when you cross borders.
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However, there are ways to bypass Netflix geo restrictions. For example, using a VPN will hide your true location and allow you to browse content unrestricted. But why is there a difference? Netflix has a strategy: not all shows cost the same, it is not equally easy or even possible to get broadcasting rights for a show in every country, and not every show will make the same amount of money everywhere. A quirky British comedy for example might be of little interest to Swedish viewers, while it might not be possible to buy the rights to a TV show currently airing on Brazilian television for Netflix Brazil, but it might be possible to buy the rights to broadcast it in the US where no traditional network has picked it up.
Lots of Great Content up for Grabs
Once you get over the fact that content can change when you travel – which is admittedly frustrating – you will discover that when you sign up to the service you get access to an impressive variety of films, TV shows, documentaries, stand-up comedy gigs, reality TV – anything you can think of and can be streamed in video form, really. This can stretch from classic Hollywood movies to last year’s blockbusters (once they finish their run at theaters) and from beloved TV sitcoms that were popular in the 1990s to TV series that are now airing.
And of course, it includes the Netflix original productions, which in and of themselves are reason enough to subscribe: hit TV series like House of Cards, The Crown, Stranger Things, Sense8, BoJack Horseman, Grace and Frankie… The list is truly endless. Netflix offers very sensible prices that start from just $7.99 for one screen, but the best way to get a bargain is to team up with three of your friends and buy a premium account for less than double that price. This gives you access to four different screens and ends up having much more value for money for everyone involved.
Netflix has radically transformed the TV industry with its original series and now it seems set on changing cinema, too, as it focuses on producing some excellent films. What could its next step be?