Starting in 1998, Netflix transformed from a small DVD-rental outlet to the global monolith of streaming. And yea, Netflix has made some controversial decisions–especially when it comes to pricing and losing shows–but they still draw in business like mad. This whole past decade saw Netflix stomp out competition such as Hulu and Prime Video, despite their best attempts.
A company keeping a successive streak isn’t rare, but for a whole decade and some change? Crazy! But how? What secrets hide under Netflix’s sleeve? How can Netflix, a company blocked from certain countries without a VPN maintain such a global presence?
They Stuck With Innovation
Companies such as Sears die due to a lack of innovation, i.e. progressing with the times. Perhaps a more apt comparison is Blockbuster. In the early 2000’s, Netflix and Blockbuster offered the same service: renting a DVD for a small fee;before streaming, these types of businesses boomed.
However, times change–technology evolves–and when video streaming started taking off, Netflix evolved with technology, transforming into the beloved streaming service we all know and love. Blockbuster, well, you know what happened to them. (Fun fact: there is one Blockbuster STILL open.)
The main factor in Netflix’s lifespan is their willingness to adapt and evolve, a characteristic lost on many businesses to this day.
Keeping Things Exclusive
Despite my praises, the willingness to adapt only takes you so far, and with competition rising left and right throughout the years, how has Netflix maintained their crown? One word: exclusives.
There’s only so much content subscribers can watch before exhausting through their library, and a subscription model depends on recurring payments–something lost once the subscriber runs out of content to watch. Netflix recognized this and, with other streaming services such as Hulu popping up, decided to take content into their own hands. Literally, too!
After the Starz TV network cut their deal with Netflix, Netflix decided to start spending money on funding and producing Netflix “Originals”. These shows and movies would be exclusive to Netflix, bringing in new subscribers and retaining current ones.
Now, I don’t have to tell you about the success of this project, since we see its success every day. Hits like House of Cards, Stranger Things and BoJack Horseman remain popular pieces of pop culture.
In the end, I’d chalk up exclusives as what keeps Netflix on top of the streaming game. As I said when starting this section, adaptation only takes you so far AKA relevant; to retain the crown, you need to offer subscribers something exclusive to you and only you, and Netflix has succeeded big-time.
Maintaining the Crown
I’m not confident in Netflix’s ability to keep the crown. Nothing against the service, it’s just…well, Disney and Apple are both fighting back with their own streaming services, both with original content as well. Netflix will be forced to compete against Disney+, and no one beats Disney. No one.
However, Netflix will definitely remain relevant; as long as Netflix maintains a good balance of quality and quantity, I see no reason they’d fade out of existence, though the crown will probably belong to Disney+. Come on, Disney+ will have Marvel originals, which is enough incentive for millions of people to try it.
When you think about it, there’s no “ace” up Netflix’s sleeve. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Netflix wears their ace on their chest, and that ace? Simple: progress.
As I said earlier, many businesses fail to maintain their relevancy due to a lack of adaptation with the times. Netflix simply progressed with the times, refusing to be a stubborn company that would be left behind 5 years.
And even with heavy competition from Disney, I’m sure Netflix will find a way to remain relevant, though their crown may be lost to the fires of Disney+.