Nurses, firefighters, and other essential crisis team members were the heroes during 9/11, and they still are today in this time of the great COVID-19 global lockdown, but there are other people who deserve a little credit and those are the ones behind streaming services.
Nearly 19 years ago America woke up to the news that large commercial aircrafts had flown into the World Trade Center in an act of terrorism. It was a shocking sight and nobody alive or near a television will ever forget it.
People reacted to the attacks by spending time with their friends and families. The public wasn’t going to let the terrorists win by staying at home in fear.
America went out into the world, it was a time of mass solidarity.
COVID-19 is not having it.
For the first time in modern history the United States is on lockdown. “Shelter in place” orders, quarantine directives, and other guidance are taking us out of the public and keeping us at home. It’s apparently saving lives, but it also cultivates the doldrums.
Thankfully there is something that can ameliorate the boredom: Binge-watch television on a streaming service. But for Netflix, the world’s most successful company in that arena, such a product almost didn’t happen.
In 2001, Netflix was near failure after the terrorist attacks. At the time, their business model was to have members receive DVDs and send them back via the postal service. September 11 had taken a toll on the company and they laid off one-third of their employees.
That would all change in 2007 when the company unveiled its then very limited streaming service. It was risky, but for a fee, customers could subscribe to a new video-on-demand feature. The movies weren’t that great, but as is usually the case, significant icons of pop culture have modest beginnings.
At last count, Netflix has over 160 million subscribers which is a far cry from the 300,000 viewers it had at the turn of the century.
Today the market is saturated with online media service providers and on-demand video rental companies. Entertainment choices are endless which until recently has become a criticism among the paying public.
Yet as America battles the coronavirus by flattening its curve, keeping people away from the things that entertain them collectively in public, our knights in streaming armor are contained in massive libraries of movies, television shows, and even video games.
The very things our parents said would rot our brains are actually saving lives.
Capitalism would suggest this is a perfect time to gouge the customer for money but just the opposite is happening. Many services are offering free subscriptions for 30 days to help holed-up families get through it.
Showtime, Acorn TV, Sundance, Starz, and one of our favorites, Shudder, are making available their content without a fee for a limited time, and it’s helping.
That’s not to say big subscription companies aren’t doing their part. The coronavirus is giving filmmakers a chance to turn a tiny profit by releasing first-run movies through their rental platforms.
The Hunt, The Invisible Man, Trolls World Tour, Onward and other big-budget films will have e-venues in which to give the public a chance to rent them without the risk of getting sick.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have said, “Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.”
Essentially, don’t go out into the public unless absolutely necessary.
The heroes in this pandemic are still the ones who are working overtime in hospitals, and the scientists who are racing for a cure and a vaccine. The heroes are also the truck drivers and grocery store workers who are essential to keeping people in food and supplies.
These people are not sitting at home binge-watching every episode of Schitt’s Creek, but I can guarantee they are happy that you are.
So thank you streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Prime and other entertainment options that provide us with content while we endure this confinement.
The economic fallout once this is all over is uncertain. Hopefully, America will bounce back vigorously with as little casualties as possible.
We have compiled some horror titles that are now streaming we think you might enjoy: