Could you survive with Netflix alone?

Within the next ten years, all TV will be streamed. You have that option now. You could very easily forego all “live” screenings of TV shows and only watch shows “on-demand.” I pretty much do this anyway, only really watching shows that I’ve recorded on my DVR unless I’m channel-hopping and find something by chance.

It is ridiculous that I ever channel-hop anyway because I have a huge amount of choice. I have a quite substantial Sky TV package, including sports and movies and then my wife invested in Netflix as there was much more that she preferred on that service. I have benefited from Netflix too though and as I was renegotiating my contract with Sky, I did wonder, if push came to shove, could I survive with just Netflix? No Sky, no normal, terrestrial channels like the BBC or ITV. Just Netflix.

Few seriously rival Netflix for dramatic content

At first glance, yes. There is a huge choice on Netflix that pretty much caters for everything. The dramas are of course the biggest attraction. House of Cards, Daredevil and Orange is the New Black are just a few to consider. Add to that the “classics” like 24 and Breaking Bad and you’d soon find your hours disappearing.

The second necessity, comedy. Their sitcoms aren’t bad either. Not quite the vast collection I’d like but there is something for everyone. British classics like The Royale Family or The Office alongside Netflix developed episodes of Arrested Development. It is manageable.

Sky Movies dominates though

Considering they’re called Netflix, movies is the area which the service struggles with. Compared to Sky Movies, Netflix pales in comparison. Sky dedicates a channel to Harry Potter, Star Wars or Bond, Netflix offers you a chance to re-watch the latest Hunger Games. Every now and again Netflix will have something great or a classic you wouldn’t mind re-watching but I’m not sure it would offer enough on it’s own.

There is some saving grace though. Documentaries are very good on the service and there are some old, obscure movies which you may have heard of but not had chance to see. Add to that their first, quite successful attempt at producing original movie content with Beasts of No Nation. Netflix could start to build something quite interesting.

Until Netflix can offer sport, I would need the choice

So far, quite manageable but then we come to the deal breaker: Sport. Until Netflix finds a way to stream sport content, there will always be a rival for my attention. Sky has the Premier League (Football or soccer for the US readers) and that will always win. Add to that the WWE (arguably a sport and a discussion for another day) and you have at least two reasons I negotiate my Sky Sports subscription every three months.

There is also the question of choice. There will always be something better on the “other channel.” Sky Atlantic has Game of Thrones, BBC One has Doctor Who and Sherlock and of course the many movies Sky offers too. I could probably survive with just Netflix – but why would I want too?

Overall, it will soon be the case that we opt into our channels and streaming services, only paying for the channels we actually watch and when that happens, some difficult decisions will have to be made. Many people could choose to stick with Netflix alone but until they offer sports, a much improved selection of films and can rival classics like Doctor Who or Game of Thrones, I will also be “pro-choice.”

Could you live with Netflix alone?
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11 comments

  1. I definitely couldn’t I still have the dvd’s being sent to my house, the online streaming selection just isn’t that good!! Lots of real mediocre movies….

  2. I do like to watch things on certain nights when they air, look forward to them because it kind of sets some order to my week. right now its Walking Dead on Sunday Nights, Ash vs Evil Dead on Sat. nights. (those are about the only shows I watch regularly.) But I do have to say, there are times that I watch a film on TV that I would not have pulled out of my dvd collection or searched for in my Netflix or on-demand library. for example, I had never seen the comedy Liar, Liar, but it was on one night a few months ago and I just left it on while i was browsing the internet. I wound up enjoying the film even though I would have never looked it up.

    • I do that. I find myself watching films I own just because I’ve caught them within the first twenty minutes and get “sucked in.”

      I couldn’t go back to watching things on certain nights. The adverts alone would drive me mad!

  3. We pay for cable for some odd reason. In the past 12 months, I watched it once, for the NBA championships. I watched the Oscars at someone else’s house and the Superbowl at a bar. Taht’s it.

    • I’ve had to have that awkward justification for Sky (British cable) plenty of times. My sports has now been cancelled but I’m waiting for an excuse to go back.

  4. My wife and I just cut our cable service and along with over the air HD broadcasting, Amazon Prime, MLB season pass, Netflix and now Hulu, we are pretty much covered. But despite Netflix’s growing original series and the addition of some good movies and TV shows, I don’t think I could just handle it as my only source of TV viewing. Great post, Ben!

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