Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Future of Netflix

The Big boss over at Netflix recently revealed that in the next two years they want to increase the amount of Netflix Original content on the service so that it constitutes fifty per cent of what they offer. He claimed they were willing to pump up to one billion dollars into this effort.
I’m not sure they are thinking too clearly.
The price of Netflix recently went from £5.99 to £7.50 (two screens, HD) to facilitate their increased focus on original content. This was fine, the Marvel Series, Orange is the New Black and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are some of my favourites on the service, and more of that type of quality content is certainly ok by me for an extra £1.51 per month. Using this figure it’s reasonable to assume that Netflix will become a £10 per month service in order to create all of this new content – the same big boss who announced the fifty per cent mark also said that they would not rely on advertising or sports to fund this. This is almost double what Amazon charge.
The other thing to consider is that the more high quality content Netflix produces, the less other companies will show their shows and films on the service. This means Netflix has to create shows that can rival The Office, The Walking Dead etc. I believe that they can do this, the Netflix shows I watch are of an incredibly high quality, the issue will lie with the films.
Currently I want to watch Tallulah and Beasts of No Nation, both marketed as Netflix Original movies and both highly rated. The rest of their movies? Meh. They have terrible Adam Sandler films and terrible Ricky Gervais films. Has-beens starring in awful movies is not going to let them contend with the likes of the X-Men movies or the likes of Twelve Years a Slave. This means Netflix will need to produce movies and lots of them, fairly rapidly. Otherwise they will find they have lots of series but no movies and that third parties don’t want to give them films because the service is taking away from their sales figures.
Can they afford to dish out the millions upon millions of dollars that this would require?
I doubt it.
Netflix Original films currently take up a very small amount of space whereas third party movies dominate. Up the Netflix Original content to 50%, largely via series as their own trends show, and you will scare off third party companies. Companies’ whose TV shows you can replace but movies you cannot. Then people will wish for the Netflix of yesteryear and will likely flock to Amazon, who offer a good balance of original content, exclusive third party content, TV shows and movies. Like Netflix currently do but likely can’t sustain in the future with this newly announced strategy.  
Perhaps I’ll be wrong, after all I’m no business mastermind and the guys behind Netflix are obviously pretty smart, but the road ahead looks rough. What do you think?

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Authority Nutrition: 6 Science Based Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Although the vegan diet and vegan lifestyle is primarily one of compassion and therefore being vegan for the animals and for the environmental factors is often the main reason for doing it, it is undeniable that there are numerous health benefits. You need only watch Forks over Knives and search around the internet to see that on an almost daily basis the evidence for a whole-foods, plant-based vegan diet being the healthiest option is growing.

That being said check out this great article from the good people of Authority Nutrition for 6, science based, health benefits of a vegan diet - ranging from cancer prevention to weight loss!


Friday, 23 September 2016

The Incredible Hulk TV Series

Considering that it ran in the late seventies and early eighties, I had assumed that the live action TV series, The Incredible Hulk, wouldn’t have aged too well. I recalled a couple of vague images and snippets of scenes from seeing my brother watch it on video as a child and thought I’d take a look and see how it’s done, after all it was always quite popular and is largely fondly remembered.

I’m pleased to say it’s actually aged quite well and is still a very entertaining and highly enjoyable show. The story follows David (no alliterative names here!) Banner and, after his research into amazing feats of strength leads to an accidental gamma overdose, it follows the Hulk too. David couldn’t shift his upturned car following an accident and so his wife died in its wreckage which led David to become obsessed with researching people who successfully completed such feats of strength in similarly arduous circumstances. The pilot ends with him and his research partner believed dead after a fire in their lab. Reporter Jack McGee sees the Hulk fleeing the scene and builds a career from following rumours and sightings of the Hulk across the country.

David drifts from town to town, under various aliases, seeking people and processes to undo the Hulk. You see him meet and help a variety of people, always happy to solve their problems before moving on with his own. Though it is kind of silly that in every place he visits he finds someone to take him in, give him work, and who then is in a sticky situation with some shady and often lethal characters for him to outsmart and defeat, it is a formula that ultimately works. It builds David as a morally rounded and likeable character with a tragic burden. It also provides plenty of pretty awesome Hulk action, where he gleefully tears rooms apart and tosses people around without ever doing any serious, non-TV friendly harm.

The Hulk itself is presented quite cleverly. Shots are stitched together of Lou Ferrigno, painted green, splitting his clothes apart by tensing arm, leg and back muscles. This means you only ever see individual parts of David turn into the Hulk and so don’t have to worry about terrible affects trying to show the whole transform in a body shot. It’s amazing what some crafty camera work, green paint, a wig and some green contacts can achieve. Sure it doesn’t look anywhere near as impressive as modern manifestations of the Hulk but it stands up well enough to not just be laughable. Not too shabby for a seventies show about an enormous green rage monster.

Honestly the worst aged effect is actually the transformation from Hulk to Banner. The same multi-shot approach doesn’t quite hold up as well, David gradually becomes less and less green and you can tell it’s basically a green shade imposed on top of the existing shot. It sticks out like a sore thumb and, though it does do the job, it looks pretty bad.

The acting, though rarely great, isn’t terrible. The core characters of each episode are usually a tad larger than life but largely well written and performed. The issues come from the more minor characters where their lines aren’t delivered in overly believable ways. It’s always passable but it does show the series’ age.

Despite a few signs of wear and tear The Incredible Hulk is a TV series that stands the test of time and is a very enjoyable show, if you’re a fan of the Hulk and are fed up of him being short changed in terms of his number of live action adaptations then I’d certainly recommend giving this a try, it does the character justice.