Though the multi-billionaire firm has risen from its humble origins, it was just as revolutionary back then as it is now. In 1997, Mark Randolph and Reed Hastings started out with the venture of selling and renting DVDs and delivering them by mail. However, it wasn’t just another rental service. Soon after, they brought the feature of monthly subscriptions that effectively disrupted the industry.
Without any late fees or due dates and a well-stocked library to choose from, the change was ground-breaking for the consumers. A little more than a decade later, Netflix has revolutionised the way people consume media and the way it is made. With over 120 million subscribers from across the globe, it is spearheading the streaming service. The start of the year witnessed a merger between Disney and Fox which was explained as an effort to match with the online streaming service providers. How did Netflix bring a change so powerful that such substantial media houses are now pooling their resources to compete with it? Let’s find out.
The television industry has taken the hardest hit in the face of online streaming options. The cable TV demanded that people watch a certain show at a certain time and in front of their television sets. Enter Netflix, and now the consumers are the masters. They decide what to watch, where and when to watch it and on whatever device they prefer it on! Netflix worked with foresight and took a huge leap into the future rendering the entire industry dumbfounded. It uploads entire seasons in one go. Cue binge-watching. There are no commercials, no waiting period and it costs substantially less than a cable does. It is essentially freeing them from all these restrictions and allowing them to decide what they want to watch. Who wouldn’t bite the catch?
Cashing in on people’s need to be represented, Netflix is working its way through every demographic by producing content for them. With an infinitesimal inventory already stocked up, it has the edge over other service providers and is working in many directions to maintain that lead. Absolute hits such as Stranger Things, Black Mirror and a wide range of comic specials by popular artists that are exclusively available on Netflix, there is no marketing better than that. However, this foray into producing its shows is not limited to shows of popular interest. Netflix takes risks and is actively involved in creating an inventory of documentaries, historical fiction and a lot of psychological thrillers. It is not afraid to experiment with the form and keeps coming up with new ideas to cater to its audiences. The promise of diverse and engaging content and its regular delivery is enough to attract people and keep them hooked.
People who are passionate are tired of hearing about and watching the same movies and the TV series that everyone else is watching. Thus, for these enthusiasts of the medium, Netflix proves to be the best platform. With an algorithm in place that keeps track of all the things you watch, the number of times you have seen it, where you hit the rewind, the genres you prefer, the plot line you prefer, everything. This grand bank of data serves to build a virtual twin for your preferences. This use of data not only streamlines Netflix’s production process but also provides custom suggestions for every user based on their usage history. Thus, the users do not have to guess what to watch next based on heresy but have an already made list of suggestions for them.
Changing the way we consume media and the way we view it, Netflix sure has come a long way. It has drastically changed watching patterns giving way to new areas of demand and reach. Catering to an audience so varied and large is no easy job though. It has been facing competition as new streaming services are emerging in the market and building a strong base of subscribers, following in the footsteps of Netflix. However, it is due to its flexibility and foresight for change that it has been spearheading the industry for a decade and is entering the second one with promising prospects, it will take all the challenges in its stride.