Every once in a while we come across a company so innovative that it turns a traditional business model on its head. Behold Netflix - a company that has pivoted multiple times in a span of 17 years and today presents itself as a streaming monarch while revolutionizing the very way we expect to consume media. Its constant evolution makes Netflix worthy of closer observation.
Flash back to the late 90’s. This new kid on the block capitalized on the shortcomings of the traditional video rental business model, by identifying hidden opportunities spawned by evolving digital technology. Netflix rattled the movie rental industry with its laser focus on convenience; late fees were eliminated and customer service enhanced. By shipping DVDs via USPS for a small monthly fee, Netflix became a mail-order movie behemoth that could compete, and even surpass, the likes of Blockbuster.
Jump forward a decade to the late 2000’s. Facing a pivotal evolutionary moment, Netflix’s next innovation took the form of online streaming. In today’s world, where instant gratification is viewed as a valued commodity, the company saw an opportunity to address TV consumers’ growing complaints about traditional cable television. At MIDIOR we like to call this innovation spurred by the proverbial question “what do you hate about…”? In short, Netflix broke free of the outdated scheduled programming archetype and managed to flip its business model with an on-demand approach that embraces both speed and innovation. Now, for a small monthly fee, subscribers can enjoy various media options streamed over the Netflix website.
As Netflix looks to increase its repertoire of streaming content, we notice the company bracing for yet another evolution: becoming a TV network in and of itself. Two Netflix original series, “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” were nominated for more than ten Emmy awards each this year. With its foundation of Darwinian strength, we wonder: is Netflix good at media, or good at reinventing itself?