Have you ever walked into a book store and thought, “Man, they’re printing too many books. How can all of these books compete for the attention of readers? Why, some publishers are putting out DOZENS UPON DOZENS of books a year!”
Of course you haven’t. And yet an article on The Ringer – “Netflix and Shill” – bemoans the fact that Netflix has already released 25 original movies this year, and that most of them sink without a trace. Deservedly, it seems. The argument is that Netflix, by inundating the market with these films on their service, is ruining movies and the moviegoing experience, etc etc. You should read the piece, it’s well written.
Now you’ll say, “Look, movies and books are different. You can’t compare the two.” And you’re right, more or less – they have different price points, different production methods, different economic models, different distribution methods, and they’re each consumed in different ways. (Maybe I should just end this essay right there) But it seems like the dismay about Netflix’s model is actually an echo of a continuing cycle of technophobia that goes all the way back to the transition from the oral tradition to the written word.