Maybe it's the fact that back in April, Netflix were reported to be worth more than Disney that they've turned into the big friendly giant of the streaming world, confident in their finances. And if we want to be really cynical about it - we could look at this from an advertising perspective - with Netflix looking to draw more subscribers over the lockdown period by giving them a taste of some of their best content for free. But I'd like to think they're doing it out of the good of their hearts - if it's even possible for streaming services to have a heart at all, which sounds like a Black Mirror episode I both do and don't want to see at all.
"Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers...
In a statement released through their media centre, Netflix said this action was in response to the requests of many teachers: "each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers - and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them firsthand. We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world."
The documentaries currently available on their YouTube channel are;
- 13th (directed by Ava DuVernay)
- Season one of Abstract: The Art of Design
- Select episodes of Babies
- Chasing Coral (directed by Jeff Orlowski)
- Select episodes of Explained
- Knock Down the House (directed by Rachel Lears)
- Our Planet series
- Period. End of Sentence (directed by Rayka Zehtabchi)
- The White Helmets (directed by Orlando von Einsiedel)
- Zion (directed by Floyd Russ)
It's a pretty big selection, both in terms of formatting (there's short films, feature length films and whole television seasons available here) and content - hopefully opening the eyes of not only students, but perhaps adults as well to many contemporary issues facing society.
I have to hope that this doesn't turn into some competition of good morals/who can afford to provide the most free content online.
However, I have to hope that this doesn't turn into some competition of good morals/who can afford to provide the most free content online. Whilst it's incredible of Netflix to provide education materials for no charge (as everyone should have access to education) - I don't want to see a battle play about between them and Amazon Prime, given that Amazon have already offered a whole range of family-friendly content for free.
Netflix isn't the only place to watch documentaries, or the only platform online that can work as a source of information. YouTube is already home to many a documentary and educational resources (am I the only one that still watches crash course videos?) - but in the mission to avoid fake news, I think many people will want their facts to come from household names they recognise and seem to trust.
Will viewers be shouting Gimme gimme gimme for more documentaries? Or is this an SOS for Amazon? We'll have to wait and see.