The buzz about the Netflix-produced series “House of Cards” has resonated with dedicated viewers around the nation. Netflix has just released news that the series is up for early renewal, and production for its third season will soon begin.

But the dark D.C. saga is only one of many of an emerging breed of new media that is revolutionizing the way television is viewed and consumed.

And much of it can be viewed from a handheld device via instant-streaming technology. Traditional television consumption may be in trouble according to Anthony Hatcher, associate professor of communications at Elon University.

“Streaming seems to be the wave of the future, especially as tablets improve their technology,” Hatcher said. “It’s very convenient to hold an iPad or Nook in your hand and watch something, or to curl up in front of your flat screen and start and stop a film or show at your whim.”

Despite the fact that Netflix will not disclose information about streaming statistics for “House of Cards,” its success can be seen via the hype about it on the Internet, as well as the DVD sales of the first season, which were the highest for a Netflix-produced series to date.

“I love ‘House of Cards,’” sophomore Laura Murphy said. “What’s great about Netflix original content is that they put it all out at once. I didn’t have to wait a week to watch the next episode and I didn’t have any commercial breaks.”

The trend of instant streaming sites creating original content is just beginning to take off. As more viewers turn to online streaming, providers are looking to further improve viewer experiences by offering them something they can’t access anywhere else. The loyalty of the viewers to the provider ensures a long-term future for companies like Netflix.

The success of “House of Cards” encouraged Netflix to continue to produce original content. The 2013 series was followed by the creation of three other shows, “Arrested Development” and “Orange is the New Black” being among the most popular.

But Netflix wasn’t the first company to begin creating its own material.  Hulu Plus, HBO Go and Amazon Prime are all creating original content and have been doing so since 2011.

The new trend of using instant streaming sites is creating an entirely new level of convenience for viewers everywhere.  Consumers can watch what they want, when they want, wherever they want.

Although there is hope that the availability of viewing TV shows and movies online legally will halt piracy and illegal downloading, these practices may not be put to rest anytime soon.

“Being able to stream and download for desktop storage and later viewing has copyright implications,” Hatcher said. “People may download the content for a time they will not have Internet access.”

The theft, though, may not come in the literal sense of swiping something off a shelf.

“Not having a physical DVD to watch might cut down on some theft, but won’t eliminate it,” Hatcher said.  “As long as the content is available, it is likely it will at some point be targeted for theft because people may not want to pay for it.”

Hatcher said the future is bright for instant-streaming, given the $3 billion allotted for Netflix original content in 2014, a major step up from the $500 million spent in 2013.


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