‘Let’s make a deal’: Why viewers should pay attention to Netflix and the BBC negotiations

matt-smithBBC’s sci-fi adventure “Doctor Who” is my absolute favorite TV show, and so of course I nearly had a heart attack the other day when I heard a rumor that Netflix would be pulling the show. I don’t have cable, so Netflix pretty much is my sole source for “Doctor Who,” unless I want to purchase all the seasons on DVD. The news could have been even worse, with some reports that Netflix and the BBC were parting ways altogether.

Thankfully, the rumor turned out to be just that — a rumor — and Netflix will continue to offer “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock” and other popular British shows. Some shows still are going away, however, including spy drama “MI-5.”

Since many favorite BBC shows are remaining, no cause for worry, right? You can still see “Call the Midwife,” “Robin Hood” and “Luther.” However, for film and TV fans, this isn’t the first time they’ve had to be concerned about what may or may not be pulled from Netflix.

I’m a big fan of Netflix, and I think it’s a great concept — one place where you can find a variety of TV shows and movies. It’s changed the way people consume entertainment media and helped give rise to the concept of “binge-watching.”

Netflix is becoming an increasingly powerful player in the entertainment industry, even offering original content such as the prestigious series “House of Cards” and the revival of “Arrested Development.” However, it’s not the same as a library, and Netflix has to negotiate with the companies that produce the content it streams — Disney, the BBC, etc.

Content may get pulled because perhaps a company wants more money for its content, or Netflix isn’t willing to pay for that content anymore. It can be frustrating for viewers, especially if you’re in the middle of watching a TV show and then Netflix pulls all the episodes. I still haven’t finished watching “Stargate: Atlantis,” since the show got pulled when I was halfway through watching it on Netflix.

Netflix can’t feasibly stream every movie and TV show ever made, so naturally we can’t expect all content to be available there forever. However, as more and more people choose to experience entertainment media through alternative formats — rather than the movie theater, broadcast TV or even cable TV — it’s in the best interest of both services like Netflix and major companies like Disney to work together to make content accessible. Netflix benefits by having more content that is popular to draw in more viewers, and producers benefit by having a new platform to access viewers.

Have you ever had a favorite movie or TV show pulled from an online streaming service like Netflix? How often do you rely on streaming services for entertainment?

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