It took me a while to fully grasp Marshall McLuhan’s concept that “The Medium is the Message”. However in light of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ recent comments regarding movie theatres’ lack of innovation, I realized that Netflix’s overwhelming success comes down to, not only the quality content, but to the nature of the medium itself and was therefore a perfect example of McLuhan’s concept.
In the case of Netflix, it’s main appeal for a majority of people is the ability to consume content pretty much anywhere. As good as the content is (and it is great!), the streaming aspect is what really entices people. Furthermore, if a medium is truly an extension of us, as McLuhan states, then Netflix too, is an augmentation of ourselves. Take the recommendations feature, for instance. After we consume a film or t.v. show, an algorithm suggests similar content for us to consume. This is all part of the appeal and the nature of the medium.
So, if you, like I did, struggle with the concept of “The Medium is Message”, just consider Netflix’s success. Then, you will understand