Will Netflix Changes Make Us Dumber?

Convenience could kill off quality: Sam Adams
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2011 3:17 PM CDT
The Netflix shift away from DVDs could make it more difficult to see quality movies and shows.   (AP Photo/Neflix Inc.)

(Newser) – Netflix probably only had its bottom line in mind when it announced the separation of its streaming and DVD services, but does it signal something more sinister? "It increasingly seems like we’re moving toward a world in which the success of a given work of art is determined primarily by its ease of access," writes the AV Club's Sam Adams. "As we come to expect and even rely on near-instantaneous access, we risk unconsciously downgrading anything that isn’t so ready at hand."

If the movie you want to watch isn't available for streaming, Netflix is banking that you'll just watch something that is. "It’s already trained its members to wait four weeks, during which new movies are available to buy but not to rent, in order to expand its selection of Instant titles," writes Adams. "So why not assume they’ll wait forever, or failing that, move on?" It's possible this will affect not only the consumption of art, but the creation of it—if it's so easy to click away, people might just give up on challenging movies. "If you’re not inclined to put forth the effort to get yourself in close proximity to a given artwork, will you be willing to expend the mental energy necessary to understand it?" he writes. "After all, shouldn’t art be inconvenient?" Read the full column.

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