From the New Yorker on Netflix’s House of Cards:
An Internet firm like Netflix producing first-rate content takes us across a psychological line. If Netflix succeeds as a producer, other companies will follow and start taking market share. Maybe Amazon will go beyond its tentative investments and throw a hundred million at a different A-list series, or maybe Hulu will expand its ambitions for original content, or maybe the next great show will come from someone with a YouTube channel. When that happens, the baton passes, and empire falls—and we will see the first fundamental change in the home-entertainment paradigm in decades.
Media was previously the domain of the studio system, the television networks, recording labels, and the major publishing houses. All of these were tied together explicitly or implicitly by contract or arrangement. The story of the modern era has been that of consolidation, merger, acquisition, and extinction,with reduced choice for media consumers. It will be interesting to see how the closed systems of the past fare against the more-open systems of the now (and how, or if, the future deviates from the past).