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Tags:   Television,   Netflix and Chill

By David Grech Urpani   -  January 07, 2016

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Back in 2013, ‘selfie’ was crowned the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year. While usage of the word skyrocketed to a point where any real-life mention of it nowadays seems to need to be dipped in irony or masked with a cringing smile, the Maltese layperson is only just discovering it now, and like an awed chimp with a flaming stick in the middle of Downtown L.A., he boastfully parades around brandishing it, thinking far too highly of himself in the process. With yesterday’s introduction of Netflix in over 130 countries (including Malta) a good two years after the infamous internet slang ‘Netflix & Chill’ starting blowing up, it seems like we’ve finally been handed an even larger stick to run around with.

So what does this really mean for the Maltese population? Well, it really depends on who you are and what you do with your free time. As someone who enjoys binge-watching series in bed, this doesn’t really mean anything to me, since my MacBook and PS4 are more than enough to satisfy my viewing (and chilling) needs. Also, based on the people I know and speak to - if and when I venture out of my bedroom - most people have already figured out a free loophole to watching whatever film or TV series they want, whenever they want. It might be a click away on their Android Box, or a couple of more clicks away while they torrent whatever film or series they’d like to watch and put it on a USB stick to plug in to their TVs. For these people, having Netflix as an option really doesn’t (or shouldn’t) be a highly exciting revelation – you now have to pay for what you could do for free, and unless you already have one of the seven officially-approved streaming media players, Netflix won’t even let you stream in HD. So even if your Korean Android Box says it supports 4K, your newly-installed Netflix app will always switch to a native 480p stream…at which point you’re better off scouring YouTube.


And what about the rest of the country? Well, if it’s 2016 and you still haven’t figured out some way to watch the latest series and films, then you probably aren’t in the least bit interested in doing so anyway. So while companies like GO and Melita might not have been blowing confetti after last night’s revelations, they can at least rest assured that a good chunk of the Maltese population will still be coming to them to watch this week’s riveting conclusion of Strada Stretta, or to hear what pile of brainwashed hogwash their favourite politician needs to stuff into their heads this time round. And that’s without mentioning the legions of football fans that would rather sit down and watch each and every one of Juventus’ matches instead of going out of the house; I think it’s safe to say that what the Maltese TV bundles offer are invulnerable since they’re in some way or another essential to a very big portion of the country’s population.


So really, we have a demographic that’s mainly split into two big factions – those who needed Netflix a long time ago and have since then figured out a cheap (or free) workaround, and those who quite frankly couldn’t be bothered (because they don’t even know that something beyond Dejjem Tiegħek Becky exists, and they wouldn’t like/understand it if they watched it anyway). Suddenly, all those celebratory statuses on my newsfeed (and man did I have a lot of those) seem a little bit more anti-climactic.   


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