Almost everybody is familiar with Netflix at this point, the US streaming service is a pioneer in the format and the most successful worldwide, with a presence in over 130 countries and multiple award-winning productions. But Netflix's success is more attributable to business smarts than artistic merit, and we will explain what made Netflix so successful and what your business can learn from the company.
It is difficult to find hardware platforms where Netflix is not available and that has been an essential part of their success. The product was born in browsers but to evolve and expand to reach a larger demographic, expanding into other platforms was necessary. Today you can find Netflix on Smart TVs, laptops, cell phones and consoles.
The lesson here for your business isn’t to run out and open accounts on every social network, but to know your customers and adapt to their behavior when attacking that market share. Facebook has more than one billion users, so the demographic spectrum covered is gigantic. However, it doesn’t have the same demographic profile as Snapchat users, for example, so you need to determine the right social media channels that most likely be used your target market.
Netflix doesn’t produce content, Netflix designs content. Netflix needed a way to keep users hooked to the platform. The solution? Create original content. But while other traditional television networks have certain production standards and tools to determine the feasibility of a program and production costs, Netflix has something much more powerful: information.
By maintaining a controlled platform, Netflix can record all the activity of viewers within their platform beyond algorithms and basic data. Netflix knows exactly when people stop watching a series, what kind of series is being binge watched, which actor generates a big following, what character and what situation caused people stop following a series and much more. By recording and analysing these patterns of behavior rather than relying on viewer self-reporting, in some ways, Netflix probably knows us better than ourselves.
You have probably never had to contact Netflix Customer Service, but if you did, you likely had a respond in less than 12 hours and your problem was solved in less than 24hrs without a lot of bureaucratic processes or inconvenience. This kind of customer service can’t ensure that the platform works perfectly all the time but it does help to ensure that users are more patient about technical errors if they receive almost immediate response, concise information and friendly, helpful customer service that reflects well upon the entire brand.
Even after becoming a brand and a successful service, the quality of Netflix original productions was not recognized by the mainstream film industry. The solution was to find, produce and buy movies whose cinematic merit would leave no doubt that Netflix was a major force in creating original series and films that could be considered Oscar-worthy. In 2015, Netflix bought the worldwide distribution rights for Beasts of No Nation for $ 12 million and released it simultaneously on its platform and in 31 theaters across the US. Why? For a film to be considered for an Academy Award, it must have a traditional theater launch. This strategy squarely takes Netflix out of the category of just streaming technology and makes it a force to be reckoned with in creating original film.
The strategy that each company implements to achieve its objectives and stay ahead of the competition may be different, but successful brand strategies should always be evaluated for their possible application in your own sector. Now that you know how Netflix got to where it is, what can you learn from them and apply to your business? Share it in the comments.
Guillermo Lamphar is Senior Community Manager at Mijo! Brands, a leading digital agency with offices in CDMX and Puerto Vallarta. For more information contact us.