18 Comments
May 14, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

So it's interesting to see why I gave up doom scrolling Netflix. Tons of content, but nothing worth watching. I'd doom scroll for 30 minutes, then give up and go for a walk. I never "got" streaming services. I mostly gave up on movies, too. There's little worth watching anymore. As much as I think pricing alone is an insufficient signal for allocating resources in a society, lacking even that leaves one quite listless.

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May 14, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

Yeah, I'm on BritBox (and Criterion for "historic" stuff).

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On the outsourcing piece: I’m often struck by how comparatively creative and interesting Japanese Anime is compared to American animated shows, which seem boring nowadays. Streaming monopolists like Crunchyroll/Funimation basically just license foreign content and do some dubbing, which seems like exactly what you’re saying other services might start doing as American production collapses.

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founding

Check out Franco-Belgian comics sometime.

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founding

I used to when I spent time in Belgium in the 1990s.

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What's interesting here is also how the subscription model of the streaming companies in itself limits how much money I can pay for content in a month. There's movies that I search for on Netflix and while Netflix doesn't offer the movie I can see by the suggestions it clearly knows what movie I'm talking about (think searching for James Bond and getting a suggestion about a different MI6-agent).

I can then go to Youtube, Apple TV or Blockbuster and pay to buy or lease the movie and ironically it doesn't take much watching before I would pay more for buying or leasing individual titles. Paying for the individual titles does offer a better deal though as I end up watching the movie I want, when I want, instead of watching whatever Netflix has on offer at the time.

In my mind it's only really a matter of time before such a model could be applied to series. There's a handful of streaming services and most of the time I'll start a subscription with one if they have a particularly interesting series and cancel the subscription after having watched that series. Cutting out the middleman and letting me pay to watch the series at my own pace without worrying about being charged for a subscription for an extra month seems like an obviously better way.

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May 14, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

Terrific analysis, Matt. Thank you

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UK shows also have more realistic characters: not all young and "perfect" looking... (like in the remake of Hawaii Five-0, for example).

American films and shows have, for a while, really dumbed down cartoonish characters... with different "looks" representing predigested ideas very directly (old for this, Black for that, etc.) = boring.

This recipe is clearly linked to a very linear, financial-analysis-above-creativity approach to profits.

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May 14, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

Not related to the strike but I thought the people here would appreciate this article I came across by Mike Watson in Tablet. It is about corporate consolidation in the American defense industry and how it destroyed our industrial capacity.

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/can-military-rebuild-itself

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May 14, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

The UK example is a great argument, better than history because it's happening now, and coming from a country w/a high GDP/COL.

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founding
May 14, 2023Liked by Matt Stoller

So good.

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I hate to break it to you, but I am not seeing much support for the writers on this one. Most of my friends hate how terribly written most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood is. Now producers and executives have their own role to play in this, but I am hearing a lot of people saying AI written shows would be an improvement to what we have now.

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author

In Hollywood there’s broad support. I haven’t seen polling for the public at large.

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These are just opinions based on vague sources. There are a lot of very talented people writing for TV/Hollywood. Hearsay “from a lot of people”? Really? Those people should try to write a script with AI. Yikes!

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founding

Great article, but small point of disagreement. There is definitely value in a good streaming service. Netflix, far-and-away, is in a league of its own. Prime, HBO Max, Hulu, etc. are all second-rate streaming services. Quality is either terrible, interface is clunky, connection between varying devices inconsistent... If Netflix's platform could be used to ameliorate an unhealthy market that would be welcomed.

Side note, your minor point about Hollywood's declining cultural relevance might be very important in terms of US global soft power. It is an important aspect I think Americans take for granted.

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What I’ve noticed most about this loss is the complete lack of curatorial power and its ability to identity and build the standards of quality in the movie industry. I loved watching “Gilda”, when curated by TCM’s Robert Osborne, and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, curated by Toronto International Film Festival in a wonderful interview of the writer/producer, and two leading actresses (https://duckduckgo.com/?q=portrait+of+a+girl+on+fire+movie&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D88L8pIEr1nk).

These are two movies where the glances between the actors carry the deepest irreconcilable conflicts of the plot. I’ve found wonderful classic and foreign films on Netflix with absolutely no cast or production information, or at best links to the ever softly limping Wikipedia, IMDb developments, or post-digestive Rotten Tomato ratings.

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Matt thanks for enlightening me on the problems with movie and tv industries. Bill

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