Am I Wrong To Hold Streaming Services To A Higher Standard?

I’ve always kind of held Netflix to a high standard when it comes to TV show/movie quality. Of course, it’s not just Netflix. I hold other streaming services like Amazon Prime and Crave to the same standard. The problem is that I feel like my standards are not being met in general. This post is going to mention Netflix the most because a) I use it, b) it’s the most popular, and c) it was one of the first mainstream streaming services so it largely paved the way. I also want to disclaim that this is about the original content produced only.

Recently, a friend and I both watched a Netflix show, and I disliked it so much that I ranted a bit about how disappointed I was in Netflix, which prompted this question from my friend: why do I have these standards? I’ve touched on this topic before, but I wanted to expand on it and see what y’all think. I’m so serious about this topic, I’m about to use subheaders. I rarely use subheaders in posts.

hear me out gif.

No advertisers

In my mind, since streaming services don’t have to appeal and cater to advertisers the way networks heavily do, they should be able to be more creative and bold with their content. I’m not saying I want edgier jokes or more gratuitous sex, I just want them to be able to really hone in on what the viewers want without worrying as much (or even at all?) about money and reputation and politics and content ratings.

Their own timeline

And since streaming services don’t need to follow the typical yearly setup of fall premieres in September and midseason finales in December and summer shows in May, they should have the time to ensure their content is as good as it can be. And yet, I’m just not finding that it is. Forced acting beyond pilots, bad jokes, weak plots…the only thing I haven’t noticed as being too bad have been special effects.

Specific stats

Furthermore, these platforms have their own active viewing stats. They are able to see what people actively like, what genres are actively being consumed, and then should cater more to that. Are people watching period pieces? Great. Make some really good period pieces, then. Impress the people who have a taste for that and are actively watching that on your platform. See, network TV has to use Nielsen ratings, and it’s not a perfect system, because they only use a sample population to represent the whole country and can’t accurately account for things like online streaming or viewing from an app. Though Nielsen has been able to track some Netflix shows and shows on other platforms, they don’t have access to it all. But that’s not the point; the point is that these platforms have more access to stats and viewing habits than networks seem to, yet they don’t necessarily act like it except when they want to make funny tweets.

netflix stats tweet.

Concerning cancellations

I also expect them to treat customers better. These are literal paying customers paying specifically for your content, and yet I find that Netflix especially cancels shows that are fan favourites. There’s apparently a slew of legal and financial reasons behind some of the decisions, and I do understand that Netflix is a business, but when so many shows are left without closure and can’t be picked up by other networks/platforms, it’s rude and weird. If they want to keep shows under four seasons because it’s cheaper for them, then that’s fine. Make that clear to the showrunners and viewers. Force them to wrap up their stories. Fans want that. Fans don’t want to keep watching unfinished business.

The non-original content

As I said, everything above was about the original content, but it’s relevant to consider the non-original stuff too in the larger discussion. These streaming services started as a place to house old, off the air shows/movies for fans to binge without buying DVDs. Only now network shows are being split up between a bunch of different services, and even then, it’s not a worldwide thing. I’d love to know if Netflix and the like are taking money they could have used to get streaming rights and instead using it to create original content. Are streaming services destined to end up looking like Apple’s where it’s only original content? It’s something to consider as I’m sure there a lot of people who use streaming services primarily to watch network content and theatrical movies.

don't forget who you are gif.

I realize that perhaps I’m being too unfair to these services. It’s impossible for everything they make to be perfect. I realize that there’s a chance that I’m too quick to speak on negatives, and it’s likely because I’m a little annoyed at the streaming-centric world that we’re now living in and the fact that these streaming shows clean up at the Emmys now. There is almost definitely a degree of pettiness at play here, but also, everything I’ve outlined here isn’t incorrect.

So tell me, am I wrong to have these standards? Or am I right but just shouldn’t say it? I’ve watched and enjoyed a lot of streaming shows on a variety of platforms, so I know there is good stuff out there and I look forward to watching more, but this is just about the general quality. Personally, I think the regular network shows I watch on cable are better in a lot of ways to streaming service shows. But who knows; maybe they have triple the budgets.

I’d love to know what you think.

That’s all for now!

 

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Copying And Stealing Online Angers Me Greatly

There are a lot of great things on the internet and a lot of great opportunities for connection that the internet has afforded us. But one thing that angers me more than anything online, and it’s gotten worse in recent years, is when people blatantly copy (aka steal) things on the internet. My rage regarding this is at immeasurable levels, and I know it’s a dumb thing to get mad about, but I see it far too often, and I know it happens just for clout. Is the validation of strangers online so powerful that so many people feel compelled to do this?

I see it on Twitter the most. There’ll be a funny tweet with thousands and thousands of likes and retweets going around, and it’s one that I know I’ve read word-for-word months/years before, despite the fact that this tweet is only like 15 hours old. That means that this person not only stole a joke/message, but didn’t even bother to rewrite or change it. And because other Twitter users either don’t remember, never saw the original, or don’t care, this one person gets now a bunch of new followers, attention, and interactions.

you don't deserve any of this gif.

And it’s so dumb because it’s very easy to check if the tweet is stolen. Just copy and paste into the search bar and if it’s stolen, you’ll find many, many of the same tweets, probably, all word-for-word. I know stealing content/stories is also unfortunately too common on other platforms like Reddit, but I think it’s harder to check and verify.

Lying online is one thing. There is a slight art to making up something from nothing (and getting away with it). It’s storytelling in the most immoral sense. But at least it’s your lie, you know? It’s a dick move, especially because people are just doing it for clout, but at least they’re not stealing someone else’s stuff. (Related: this post about people lying on LinkedIn and the fun account calling them out.)

You know what you did gif.

The good news is that some people are up on the scam. In almost all the stolen tweets I’ve seen in the past year, there have been many replies of people using memes to call out the poster for stealing a Tweet. This is good because at least the person knows we know that they’re guilty, and these call-outs are usually the top replies, so they’re somewhat seen. But I think the damage is still done. A lot of people don’t read replies, they just retweet/like because a joke is a joke.

If you are someone who purposely copies things—particularly tweets—online, I hope you know that you’re an awful person. And if you don’t but you see something that you know has been stolen online, either call it out or refuse to engage with the content. It’s unfortunate that the internet has made it so easy to copy or steal something, and I hope platforms and users take a stand and do what they can to stop or lessen the occurrences.

Okay, rant over. I just really needed to get that out. Again, I know it’s only a slight problem probably not worth a whole blog post, but I see it so often. Humans suck sometimes.

deep sigh gif.

That’s all for now!

 

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Take Me Behind All The Scenes

I recently read a book I saw a fellow blogger mention on Instagram. It was called I’ll Be There For You and it was all about the hit TV show Friends. The author highlighted why Friends was a success and why it remains a success even today with people who, like myself, were babies when the show was on. There were also cool stories about the show’s creators, some of the drama between the NBC and Warner Bros over the years, the cast, and much more. I very much enjoyed reading it. It was informative and fun and was written by someone who also loved the show, which came across well. I recommend it.

I love things like that book because I find behind the scenes things very fascinating. Especially when it’s about something I already have an interest in, such as TV shows or musicals or something. I think it’s so neat to learn about all the little things that went into creating something bigger and well known because they’re important parts but are rarely shared.

Interesting. I like it. gif.

I wish we got more behind the scenes things in general. Whenever I watch a TV show, the first thing I usually do when I finish it (provided I like it) is scour the internet to find any bloopers, behind the scenes videos, and interviews I can find. Sometimes I get lucky and can find a lot of great content, but some shows have a lack of the good stuff. When Glee was a few seasons in, a then-friend lent me a book all about the making of Glee‘s first season. It went through every episode, every song, every cast member, just giving tidbits of info and facts. I finished that book, turned it over, and read it again right then and there because I loved it so much. I prayed for a book on the second season, but never saw one. Glee also stands out to me as far as TV shows go because for almost every episode, there was behind the scene interviews and footage put on YouTube ahead of the episode. They were so fun and I loved watching them. Despite the fact that we never got the bloopers we were promised (and I’ll die mad about it), I think Glee did a good job giving fans a lot of bonus content, so thanks to Fox for that! I wish every show/musical/sports team/startup company had a person just documenting everything so it can be shared with eventual fans.

I know I'm right gif.

One reason I think I’m so attracted to the behind the scenes thing is because it highlights the real fun work that goes into creating these big things. As a creative person and as a media consumer, I love seeing how ideas come to life and then go on to inspire and entertain millions. In my second year of university, I kind of came to a realization that I wanted to be a part of something like that. I want to be a part of something that people were excited to use/consume/do. Given that I live in Canada, my dreams of working on a TV set aren’t the most realistic, but there’s so much more I can do. This blog is a start, because it’s me creating content for you guys to read and (hopefully) enjoy…though a behind the scenes look at that wouldn’t be interesting at all—it’s just me slouched in a Snuggie typing quietly at odd times of the day.

Anyway, I love fun behind the scenes things, so if you know of any good books similar to the Friends one or videos or something, let me know so I can consume it!


Give it all to me gif.

That’s all for now!

 

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Snapchat’s Original Content Actually Isn’t That Bad

Are you looking for a new way to waste time? Of course you are. Then let me direct your attention to Snapchat. Yes, that dumb millennial app. It is by no means a perfect platform, but I’ve had it for about six years, and use it every day. Though I’m not using it to interact with my friends. No, see, that would be somewhat productive, and I’m not about that. I use Snapchat to watch content in the same way people watch YouTube.

And guess what? The content on Snapchat is actually decent. It was a really good move on the platform’s part to go from just a social platform to a social media platform. And any company/media production company that jumped on board made a good call. Now Snapchat offers a lot of original content that you could easily waste a morning consuming.

putting in headphones to then use a smartphone.

Snapchat’s original content can be lumped into five groups.

1. Compilation videos

These are fun because it’s not professionally produced content; it’s submitted videos from other Snapchat users that are compiled into videos. Best Of College, Best Of High School, Life Hacks, Oddly Satisfying, Sound Up, Bad Tattoos, and 10 Second Talents are a few of my favourites. I also watch a lot of videos of people cutting soap into little pieces because it’s weirdly addicting and satisfying. I’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of time doing this.

2. ‘Famous’ People

Notice how famous is in quotations because this usually just means YouTubers of varying degrees of popularity. Honestly, I don’t watch these that often, but sometimes I like to laugh at how dumb their stories are (useless life updates or selfies or lip syncing to hip-hop in a car makes up 75% of it all).

3. Actual Snapchat original content

Snapchat has a fun variety of original content. Some are like little reality shows (eg. Face Forward, How Low Will You Go, Phone Swap) and there are a few news/update type shows (What The Fashion, E!’s Rundown), but Snapchat also has some short scripted weekly shows. I’ve only seen a few episodes of one of these scripted shows and have no interest in any of the others because they all look very dumb with worse-than-current-Disney-Channel acting, but I’m fascinated with the potential that’s there. Goodness knows streaming services are popping up all over, and it’s wild to think that Snapchat of all things could have a play in that game. Their content is free and short, and that could appeal to many. And honestly, I’m sure if you were bored out of your mind, those videos would do their job of being entertaining.

4. News/articles

Some sites you’re probably familiar with like Daily Mail, Vice, and Refinery29 have their own channels where they post news articles with moderate animation where acceptable (making use of the platform), which is cool because it’s making the relevant world news available in a new way to people who may not otherwise want to go out of their way to read it. Unlike Twitter or Facebook where you have to exit the social media platform and go to a new site to read the article, everything on Snapchat stays on Snapchat. You don’t ever leave the app, and that’s brilliant.

5. Cross Posted Content

It makes sense that media companies want their videos to reach people on many platforms, so there is also a good chunk of content that is from YouTube edited to fit to Snapchat too, and this is a decent idea because for someone like me who doesn’t watch a whole lot of YouTube, I’m now exposed to videos on Snapchat. Try Not To Laugh, Wired Autocomplete Interviews, and How Ridiculous are some of these things I enjoy watching through Snapchat.

It's good stuff gif

Of course there are a few other things that don’t fit into these five categories well, but overall, this is a pretty good outline of what Snapchat has to offer.

The draw of Snapchat, for me at least, is that the content is usually short (between 2-10 mins most of the time) and it’s all on that app and easily available. Furthermore, all I have to do is watch. There are no comments or sharing buttons or anything like that. I just watch, maybe Subscribe if I want to easily find that series again, and that’s it.

And from a content creator perspective, it’s interesting too. Not that I have plans to create Snapchat content, but Snapchat, even from its social side, is not a numbers game. Like with Netflix, you can’t tell who gets the most views, you can’t tell what series get watched, you can’t tell how many people are subscribed. Of course the creators themselves can probably see numbers, but otherwise, it’s purely about the entertainment than it is the popularity, and that’s a cool thing in this world of numbers-driven social media.

The only changes I think I’d make at this time to Snapchat’s content is the ability to scrub video timestamps and speed up videos. Otherwise, I am very much enjoying the content and its availability, and if you want to waste time too (or amuse yourself while on the bus or on a break or something) then check out Snapchat.

Snapchat ghost.

That’s all for now!

 

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A Look Into YouTube Part 3: The Future Of YouTube

Part 1 / Part 2

Though it feels like longer, YouTube began in 2005 so it’s been around for 13 years. In that time, it went from a place where people could upload their blurry home videos to a place where companies can produce full budgeted shows. So many people can live off of money they made from YouTube and kids today dream of being YouTuber the way others dream of becoming a movie star.

YouTube is one of the most popular sites and it definitely is the biggest video site with hours and hours of content being uploaded every second. So where does it go from here? What will the platform look like in the next few years? These are purely my guesses, but here’s what I think.

Think About The Future gif

I think YouTube will get less popular in the next few years. 13 years is a long time for a site to last, so eventually it will die down a little. As more and more current YouTubers move away from video production to have families, try other things, or just move on from the once-hobby, and as viewers continue to get bored with the content or lack of fresh videos, the site will cease to be as popular. Not to mention that there are other ways to be seen now. YouTubers and influencers alike use Snapchat and Instagram to broadcast themselves, maybe because it involves little to no editing and a large reach.

In terms of YouTube as a platform, it’s really not even making itself out to be a good home. So often there’s news of YouTube unfairly demonetizing content or YouTube making it harder for smaller YouTubers to make money or YouTube not taking proper action against YouTubers who break rules. It’s left a lot of people, YouTubers or otherwise, unhappy. But there isn’t yet anywhere else to go. I think that may change one day as people continue to get fed up and want to have better control of their content. I also think that YouTube’s hype regarding its paid subscription service YouTube Premium (aka YouTube Red) will die off considering that a) the shows on there are largely just cringy kiddie shows with stiff acting, b) as better streaming services like Disney’s or DC’s become available on top of the myriad that already exist, people won’t want to pay for YouTube on top of these, and c) its target audience is almost solely children, who probably don’t pay for this stuff themselves. YouTube may not be able to compete with this changing TV landscape. I also think that parents may take a deeper look at the YouTube content their kids are watching and reevaluate their levels of comfort, and likely not favour the platform in the end.

be better gif

As for YouTube’s content, I think it’ll change too. Unfortunately, if someone wants to make it big, they’ll need to hit the ground running with decent content to stand out from the masses. This means better audio, better picture, and better ideas from the start because they won’t have a chance to catch up otherwise as people move on without them. I also think people are getting really fed up with clickbait that eventually that’ll die off a bit too. To counteract this, the only videos that will succeed, I think, will be the ones that actually have substance. No longer will people be able to do mindless vlogs or just film things for the sake of it, they’ll need to actually have something worthwhile to show. This means that LA and other big cities like New York or London will continue to be a YouTuber hub as that’s where things are and will be at their wildest, though I think there will also be more harsher lines as to what is and is not okay to do/film. Furthermore, I think that the YouTubers who are constantly flexing and are in it for the money will move to Instagram, where there is more of that unrealistic level of life and beauty.

As for YouTubers, they’ll change too, but not a lot. They’ll still need an entertaining personality to keep people watching. But they’ll be more aware of what they say and do. Because the YouTubers of the future will have grown up in this Me Too era and have seen many peoples’ careers fall because of their pasts, they’ll be more careful and politically correct. They will also be more honest and real, so I think we’ll see less ‘characters’ and clickbait and more openness. We’ve seen people as wild as Jake and Logan Paul, and I don’t think anyone wants to be like that. As for other types of videos in other niches, they will have similar changes. Drama videos will still exist but with less speculation and more facts, Beauty Guru videos will be more honest about products and their routines, reaction videos will be less forced, and anything else will just be more down to earth and fun. Look at Jenna Marbles, for example. She’s been on YouTube for years, and now she just has fun with her videos.

Thumbnails of recent Jenna Marbles videos

Lastly, I think that there’ll be a whole bunch more YouTube controversies. From YouTuber drama to YouTube making bad calls as a platform to YouTube affecting pop-culture in a different way. YouTube and YouTubers as celebrities is still a fairly new concept that a lot of people have yet to learn about. YouTube may die one day, but there’ll be a lot more big things to happen first.

What do you make of my predictions? Do you figure any of it will come true, or do you have other ideas about the platform and its people?

Next up next week: some thoughts from YouTubers themselves.

 

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