I’m not young and being cool is probably now beyond me. But it has become obvious even to me that Netflix is fast becoming the TV version of heroin for lots of people.
When Ricky Gervais talked to me about a TV revolution at the launch of Derek in January, the online service was doing well, but still only spoken about from time to time in UK.
Less than a year later everything has changed, and even those behind the times like me are using it every week.
Colleagues talk about getting their ‘fix’ – or Netfix – on a weekly basis. You only have to be on Twitter on a Monday to see Breaking Bad has become event TV, even with people watching the episodes at different times.
Officially there are now over 1.5 million subscribers in the UK, and who knows how many more people watch and use those accounts. One colleague of mine talked – with pride – about watching four-and-a-half series of Breaking Bad in two weeks. That’s a new kind of TV addiction which previously only happened with box sets at weekends.
I’ve finally got into Netflix almost by accident. Some bright spark from the company has allowed two episodes of their exclusive drama House of Cards to be shown on Virgin Atlantic flights. It’s a great idea and I enjoyed Kevin Spacey’s performance so much during a flight back from New York that I couldn’t wait to get home to start watching the rest of the series.
It is smoother than iPlayer and other sites and the way the next episode begins on Netflix before the end credits have even finished rolling makes it harder to stop and easy to become addicted and watch several episodes in a row.
When Derek launched on Netflix last week around the world, Gervais was so happy he tweeted: “I can’t believe how many people have already watched Derek in one day. Incredible. I want to put everything I’ve ever done on Netflix.” It is proof people will pay a premium for TV online if it is decent and available in a format they can gorge on.
Mark Jefferies is the Deputy Showbiz and TV Editor at the Daily Mirror