Writer Sam Adams has an interesting perspective on Netflix’s recent rate hikes and the unintended consequences of pushing users away from discs-by-mail and towards streaming.
“As critic and historian Dave Kehr is often moved to point out, the prevailing myth that ‘everything is on DVD’ is hilariously wrong. Every time a new technology takes over, a chunk of film history gets left behind. Movies that were mainstays of undergraduate film classes have been marginalized as colleges and universities zero out rental budgets and build new classrooms that only allow for projection from digital sources.”
I actually don’t quite agree that some film history is lost “every time” there’s a technological shift, or at least I don’t agree that it’s quite that simple. The advent of home video resulted in an explosion of movie availability, and I have greater access to films today than ever before. But it’s also true that not every film on a reel made it to VHS, and not every one of those made it to DVD, etc. In this argument, it’s important to weigh the benefits of availability as well as the lost inventory.
Still, I think Adams is essentially correct in his assertion that with this specific shift, from discs to on demand services, there is a very real danger of losing a nontrivial subset of the films once available on disc. As he argues:
“The services offering access to a bottomless library of content continue to multiply, but for myriad reasons ranging from licensing restrictions to tangled chains of custody, these services are critically flawed.”
It seems inevitable that most of our entertainment media will soon be accessed primarily via subscription or via on demand purchases — via Netflix, Spotify and Kindle — and that it’s not a safe bet to assume that everything that was available to us in physical form will be available to us as bits.
Read full article here.
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