Alongside access to a content library larger than a petabyte – which is a million gigabytes – Netflix users spend about a billion hours a month streaming, totaling 5.1 billion hours in quarter two (spring) of 2014. The service has 57.4 million subscribers internationally, 39 million in the United States alone. With roots in 50 countries already, Netflix will launch in Australia and New Zealand on March 24 with its original hit drama series, “House of Cards.” After waiting more than a year, many students celebrated the premiere of the show’s third Season 2 weeks ago.
“The night that ‘House of Cards’ Season 3 came out on Netflix, Kaylie [Stokes, third-year and Catalyst staff member], one of the RAs [Resident Advisor], showed it on Kat’s projector,” first-year and “House of Cards” fan Alexis Pujol said. “It was really big, and it was really cool.”
New College students were not the only ones excited about the 13 new episodes. Upon the season’s release, shares for Netflix went up 40 percent and are trading at 140 times 2015’s earning estimates. One hundred million dollars was spent on the first two seasons.
“The new season of ‘House of Cards’ came out at 3 a.m. eastern time and two of my friends, who had no classes that day, decided to marathon as much of the season as they could,” first-year Charlotte Redman said. “They started watching it as soon as it was released.”
“I’m obsessed with ‘House of Cards,’ and I have been waiting forever for the new season to come out,” Pujol said. “It’s a Netflix original, but it’s super good.”
Founded in 1997, Netflix is an instant video streaming and mail-order DVD service that also hosts its own original productions such as “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Lilyhammer.” Netflix productions have received 45 Emmy, two Academy Award and 10 Golden Globe nominations. Kevin Spacey’s leading role as Frank Underwood in “House of Cards” just won him a Golden Globe for best actor in a drama television series. Other Netflix originals are popular on campus. First-year Wes Harper enjoys the thriller “Hemlock Grove.”
“I watched the first three episodes of Season 1 over the course of a few days,” Harper said. “I watched episodes four to 13 over the course of two nights. I watched Season 2 in a day.”
The average Netflix user streams content 93 minutes a day, with 61 percent of users binge watching at least once a week. When applied to college campus, a new question surfaces: is Netflix the leading culprit for procrastination? First-year and professed Netflix addict Lukas Heath definitely thinks it is.
“Netflix has been the root cause of my procrastination since the start of last semester, therefore, I’ve decided to exclude it from my daily routine for at least the duration of Lent,” he said. “I had practically an endless amount of TV shows and movies to watch, and I could always find something that interested me.”
Of the New College students surveyed via a Catalyst poll, 87 percent were Netflix subscribers, 65 percent mostly watched television shows, and 32 percent streamed 10 plus hours a week. Many respondents commented that they use family or friends’ accounts.
“I love Netflix,” one survey responder commented. “I have such a strong brand loyalty towards Netflix that, even in the months when I don’t watch anything, I [am] still more than happy to give them money.”
Students also mentioned that the amount of weekly Netflix time varies depending if, for example, they are binge watching a television show. “Some weeks it’s a marathon of two days straight, some nothing at all,” a student commented on the survey.
“It is extremely variable,” another respondent echoed. “Most weeks, I don’t watch at all, but when I do, I watch in 10 plus hour spurts.”
After living in Germany for most of his life, Heath sees the advantages of Netflix as well.
“I rewatched all of “The Office,” “Breaking Bad” and other shows I wouldn’t have access to living in Germany,” he noted.
“I have a Netflix account that I share with my family. I watch it every night before I go to bed, not even to watch it, but to have it playing in the background,” Pujol explained. “I like falling asleep watching ‘Bob’s Burgers.’”
Ideas for balancing Netflix and schoolwork include pacing: after getting a predetermined amount of work done, an episode can be a reward.
“I wouldn’t say I’m addicted,” Redman said. “But I definitely watch it to relax and unwind after a busy day.”