The Premier Access Paradox
From the earliest days of the Internet, I use it as much to access entertainment as I do to interact with people. One of my first Ebay purchased was a set of bootleg VHS copies of the original G.I. Joe animated series. At the time, I was writing my first screenplay, one of the bigger initial steps I took on my desired path of writing full time. I had the first of a reoccurring thought that evolved over the year as the Internet introduced new ways to access old media: Why would anyone watch anything new?
It ends up, filmmaking and marketing evolved at a similar pace, and the spotlight stayed on the hot new shows, movies, and games. So much so, that I just paid $35 CAD and scheduled my weekend around watching Black Widow, a movie that will be available to be for no additional cost in three months.
Why would I do this?
Cult of The New
When I am deciding if I want to watch something new -whether I already accessible through one of the streaming platforms I subscribe to, or for an additional cost- I ask myself: Will Ryan by talking about this Sunday night? Will James and Maso want to talk about this on Monday?
By Ryan, I mean comedian and YouTube sensation Ryan George. And by talk about this, I don’t mean with me. Although he and I share not only a first name but also a city of residence, I don’t know Ryan George personally. I am, however, an avid viewer of Pitch Meetings on Screen Rant’s YouTube channel. It’s part of my Sunday routine.
Likewise, James and Maso host The Weekly Planet, my favourite podcast. New episodes release Monday, and they’re basically guaranteed to review the latest comic related movie release the episode after the movie releases.
Missing out on a new release means also skipping fresh content from some of my favourite entertainers on the Internet that week. So if it’s a movie I plan on seeing, I make it a priority to see it in time to get in on the chatter at the jump. Whoever came up with the erm “influencer” absolutely understood my relationship to that type of Internet personality.
An Easy Decision
When young me pictured a world with unprecedented access to all media of all time, he neglected to imagine the Netflix death scroll. Even with a list of the movies and shows I’ve told Netflix I plan on watching, the dangers of wasting an evening on a menu is real any time I sit down to watch something without a plan for what that something could be.
So when the alternative is sitting down knowing I will surely watch this movie, all I need to do is pay for it, the temptation is real. I passed on Mulan and Cruella because I knew I could wait, and yet I was still tempted. I watched Soul and Luca on release because they skipped Premium Access, but I might have been tempted there as well.
A Sliver of Normalcy
It’s also nice to return to a world where I can watch a new MCU movie. The Disney+ shows have been great, but they’re also a different viewing experience. While going to a packed theatre with some close friends is still the ideal, this worked while we wait for the global situation to continue to improve.
Was It Worth It?
Black Widow was a rare example of an average Marvel movie. And since I think of the average MCU film as an above average movie viewing experience, that’s high praise. Like a lot of Disney entertainment postponed due to the pandemic, it benefited from the breathing room after Endgame.
Some of the twists are MCU formulaic, and there’s a lot of overlap with Captain American: The Winter Soldier, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but those are some of my favourite MCU entries!
Now, was worth contributing to the idea that streaming services should have additional buy-in tiers, and encouraging Disney to find new ways to get my money? That was less worth it.