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Netflix Streaming Is Killing Off Physical Media - And Film Fans Should Be Worried

"Anne Helen Peterson, writing for LARB, despaired that Netflix is creating a “new canon” among young television viewers: “[A]s far as I can tell, the general sentiment goes something like this: if it’s not on Netflix, why bother?” The limited options for film viewers, particularly those looking for obscure or classic titles, are even more troubling. Like it or not, Netflix has positioned itself as the primary delivery system for at-home movie watching, and contrary to its claims, the company isn’t an “expert programmer”; it offers up whatever it can get from the content providers it has agreements with, and (like Blockbuster before it), Netflix is more interested in what’s new and hot than what’s old and good.

Don’t believe me? According to the fine folks at GoWatchIt, of the top 15 titles on the American Film Institute’s 2007 list of the best American movies, exactly none are currently streaming on Netflix. Among other subscription services, only one movie (Casablanca) is streaming free for Amazon Prime members; only one (City Lights) is available on Hulu Plus. Several others are available as á la carte rentals from iTunes, Amazon, and the like — and two titles (Raging Bull and Star Wars) aren’t even available via that method.”

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