Netflix, a company that established its online streaming service in 2003, has officially arrived in Switzerland. Yes, it took a full 11 years for Switzerland to realize that unlimited, on demand TV and movies was the way to go. Netflix is a way of life here in the United States. You don’t say “I’m going to go watch House of Cards”. You say “I’m going to watch Netflix”. When I lived in Switzerland, Netflix was non-existent. I had to settle for Swisscom on demand which gave me a large selection of films I didn’t want to see such as Extreme Ghostbusters and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid. Am I irritated that Switzerland has only now acquired Netflix? Absolutely. It means that I wasted all those years waiting to watch every season of the Gilmore Girls in a row. Now everyone in Switzerland can indulge in BoJack Horesman, an animated show about a washed-up fictional star and his attempts to get back into the spotlight. Oh, and the titular character is a horse, his agent is a cat, his best friend is human and in one episode a Navy SEAL is an actual seal. American television has never been better or maybe it couldn’t get worse and I’m so glad Switzerland gets to appreciate it along with us.
The thought on everyone’s mind is of course, why did it take so long for Netflix to arrive in Switzerland? Netflix is a much more popular concept in the United States than in Europe for the simple reason that Americans want it when they want it. New technology has made it that with our incredibly busy lives we don’t have to sit in front of the TV at a particular time to watch a series or else we will never see it again, technology has evolved and so have we. Now we can watch television shows commercial free for free online immediately after it has aired or even two weeks after it has aired. Switzerland on the other hand has remained more traditional. A need for online streaming hasn’t been apparent up until a few years ago, and ever since we’ve seen a smooth progression towards Netflix. It started with Swisscom on Demand and then moved up to SwissTV and now we have arrived at unlimited on demand television and movies with Netflix.
Will Netflix succeed in Switzerland? Only time will tell. Personally, I can’t see myself sitting in a café paying CHF 10 for a cup of coffee, overhearing two people discussing Eyes, if you didn’t get that reference, it tells me you haven’t paid your CHF 11.90 a month to enjoy “Orange is the New Black.”
For now, I’m content knowing that the next time I mention how good “House of Cards” is in a Coop I won’t get blank stares and heads turning in my direction but some silent head nods in agreement and murmurs of “Ah oui, Netflix.”
Emily Theytaz is a Swiss-American currently living in Boston, Massachusetts. firstname.lastname@example.org