(a collaborative article between Safa A., Editor-in-Chief and Emma M. Copy Editor)
On January 6, 2016, Netflix announced its worldwide release, allowing the globe to access its vast entertainment programming, including our very own Malaysia. Since the streaming service was launched in 2007, it had expanded to only a handful of countries, first to Canada and then to Australia, New Zealand, South America; it soon had reached over 60 nations.
During his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show 2016, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings announced that the service would now be accessible to over 130 nations. He said, “Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network. With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”
Before choosing which package you want to subscribe to, Basic at RM33, Standard at RM42, and Premium at RM51, there is also an opportunity for a month-long free trial. This promotional period allows you to test the waters, exploring which TV shows and movies you want to watch.
The content on Netflix has long been expanding. Initially with regular licensed TV and movies, Netflix created their own original series, including popular titles like Orange is the New Black, Marvel’s Daredevil, and the documentary series Making a Murderer. However, due to Malaysia’s (and numerous other nations) censorship laws, certain TV shows and movies won’t be available. The Netflix original House of Cards along with some other programs will be barred, but with an influx of new shows in 2016, there shouldn’t be a discrepancy.
According to the ISKL community, Netflix doesn’t seem to be a popular choice as all the memes suggest. It looks like there won’t be much ‘Netflix and Chilling’ in good old KL… yet. Senior Santiago R. thinks that “Netflix in KL is okay… It has up to date shows and some good movies. American Netflix is still much much better. If I had to give it a score out of 10, it’d be a soft 7.”
As Safa explained earlier, Netflix will be censored to some extent, but will it hinder the viewing pleasure and options? “I think that there will be limited options of TV shows and movies because it needs to be appropriate for the cultural context of Malaysia, so there will probably be limitations in that sense,” said Anusha I., a senior.
Students at ISKL seem to more often than not enjoy streaming from the internet or downloading TV shows unavailable in Malaysia from other sources. “Honestly, I haven’t tried it and I probably won’t because I don’t see the point in it. When I watch tv series they are all illegally downloaded and I don’t see the problem in that. If I was in a country where I thought it was unsafe then I think Netflix is very valuable but in Malaysia where streaming is the norm then it’s pointless,” Junior Isabella G. said. “I probably will end up having one eventually if I move but for now, I don’t think Netflix will be that affective.”
While the inexpensive cost is appealing, why mess with something you could get for free? It seems as though students will always go for the cheaper option. While some students seem quite optimistic about the streaming service, others seem to be running in the opposite direction.
As Netflix’s streaming service becomes accessible to a broad global community, the prevalence and importance of the internet becomes more and more obvious. With closed captioning in over 17 languages, with content from all over the world, Netflix is further revolutionizing the entertainment industry.