Netflix' Transnationalisation: La Casa de Papel as Instrument for Crossing Borders
Kint, M.F. van der
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This thesis investigates how particular content on a subscription video-on-demand service (SVOD) could support the reach of the service. Central to this thesis are the platform ‘Netflix’ and the Spanish-language series La Casa de Papel (LCDP), which is available on Netflix. The medium of television and the internet have merged together, resulting in the development of new forms of television. As a consequence of these developments, Michael Curtin calls for ‘the matrix media era’: an era shaped by non-linear digital services on the internet, that is associated with a different reach than traditional media. Namely, the national character of television is replaced by the international, or sometimes global, character of SVODs. In the case of Netflix, some scholars, such as Mareike Jenner, argue that this platform’s reach should be called ‘transnational’, since Netflix reaches across borders. It is not available in every country due to imbalances and, according to Jenner, therefore not global. As Netflix says to strive to be ‘a global entertainment service’, it is likely that the service tries to increase its transnationality. In this research, platform specific strategies that relate to spatiality are analysed, showing that Netflix actively works on increasing its reach. This involves both the level of its locations, and how the service deals with content: Netflix maintains strong relations with ‘its countries’ and, e.g., texts from diverse cultures are included in the library, therefore engaging a wide audience. The fact that La Casa de Papel has become Netflix’ most watched non-English-language series indicates that it contains qualities that are accessible to people from various cultures. The format, linguistic aspects, genre and themes of LCDP and in what way the series is displayed on the Netflix interface are analysed to explore its connection to Netflix transnationalism. It is concluded that especially the four substantive features of the series could possibly contribute to Netflix transnationalisation, although the presentation of LCDP on the interface shows some connections to the extension of Netflix’ reach as well.