Thursday, September 15, 2016

Telenovelas in a Netflix World

I think the most interesting part of Dr. Granier's visit was when the conversation turned towards the future. The history of how telenovelas evolved is fascinating and reminded me of a snowball effect, but the uncertainty of how to handle Netflix and Hulu is particularly fascinating. It is a question that haunts the entire broadcast industry, but perhaps telenovelas and television shows the most. The current model of watching one episode a week is just simply unacceptably dissatisfying now that we can binge watch our favorite shows on a streaming platform. Telenovelas can compete with Netflix and other services like it because they air an episode daily, which I think is the perfect hybrid between binge watching and releasing a show on a weekly basis; it is like measured binge watching. Most of the telenovela producers have a show's entire catalog on their website for consumption, which is essentially what Netflix does. So while the rest of the television programming world lags tremendously behind Netflix and has to adjust to compete, telenovelas seem to be in prime position to keep up with streaming services. If traditional television programming is strides behind Netflix, I think telenovelas are right on the heels of Netflix and Hulu because of how they are structured to release episodes in a binge-like fashion.

1 comment:

  1. Matt, this was something that stuck with me after Dr. Granier's visit as well. There are very few shows that I or people that I know will actively seek out each week on network television. My roommates and I have a couple shows we watch together, but by and large most people in our age demographic just wait until the show is on Netflix in it's season entirety or watch it later online. This is definitely something that threatens the telenovelas culture of consumption going forward with the millennial generation. However, with shows on streaming services like Netflix starting to be independently produced by the company, there's a future there. For example, while not the better depiction of Escobar according to Dr. A, Narcos is a good example of how an telenovela-like series can break into this streaming service world and find international viewership in a different way than it has been previously done in Latin American societies. It will be interesting to see in the next few years how the face of modern telenovelas continues to change to cater to the new consumption practices of their younger audiences.