Seriality and/in Mediations of Leisure: On Netflix and Its Everyday Mobilities

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 17:00
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Elena PILIPETS, AAU Klagenfurt, Austria
It’s not TV, it’s not HBO, it’s Netflix. In the age of ubiquitous entertainment, especially with the proliferation of digital streaming services and  interfaces, the contexts of using media content have become more mobile and flexible. Serialized flows of popular culture – based on the recurrent material-semiotic movements of information and meanings – are entering a new mode of mediation to be experienced as ‘lived in’ rather than encountered in a separate realm of representation.

To promote its launch in France in September 2014 the American streaming platform Netflix created a digital outdoor campaign made entirely of GIFs. With more than 100 different GIF-scenes from popular films and television series to appear on more than 2.000 digital billboards placed in Parisian public spaces and reacting to various situations of urban everyday life, it was designed to generate a simulation of what Netflix declared as an experience of “100% contextuality”.

Because of the cyclic and repetitive but also mobile and interchanging nature of the GIFs which changed their content to match the context of their surroundings depending on the current news, weather and time of the day, this campaign has managed not only to illustrate the capacity of Netflix to provide online content on-demand – whenever and wherever the people want it to be provided – but to actually make the Netflix experience part of the everyday mobilities. 

Drawing on the affective and performative capacities of this interactive mobile brand environment to connect every leisure situation with a good reason not just to watch a particular movie or television series but to watch it on Netflix, this paper proposes to discuss the synthesis between the logics of database navigation, televisual narration and web 2.0 virality within the process of content differentiation across constantly shifting trajectories of our everyday movements between online and offline settings.