This is it! My very last assignment blog for my Bachelor’s of Arts in English to maintain my 3.9 GPA. All of the letters are worn from my keyboard and I have seven total publications to my name. It’s been a long road but I have no regrets. To celebrate, if I could get three comments on the content of this article, this would round out my journey perfectly. Thank you all for your support.
Video streaming mega-company, Netflix, nailed an internet-based marketing strategy through innovation and, well, common sense. The level of artificial intelligence used to predict our viewing happens is instantly used to develop a personalized promotional plan for each viewer. Incorporate a high level of viewer ownership into an all American pastime, and you have a #1 video streaming service.
How did they do it? How does Netflix use internet-based marketing communications to draw us in and keep us vegged out for hours?
It was not always easy. In an Internet video, Strategyzer.com (2018) states that Netflix started as a DVD rental service while VHS still had a hold on the video market in stores like Blockbuster. Their first risk of innovation came with a subscription model with no due dates or late fees and allowed for unlimited rentals via Kiosk or traditional mail. Much like their box store competitors, the internet almost did them in. Instead of bowing out, Netflix stepped up and adapted, taking their company public and exploring streaming services. Going online created more hurtles with slow internet speeds making streaming difficult and slightly before its time. Further, the internet, though growing in popularity, did not hold a light to the well-established television services such as cable TV, DirectTV and other cable providers. Seeing internet as the frontier of television, Netflix just waited for the world to catch up to them.
Waiting was never an idle activity for Netflix marketing team. From 2002 to present, price, product, placement, and promotion evolved as well. Keeping with the subscription model, they were able to only charge their customers a mere 5% of their television competitors while giving customers instantaneous access to popular movies via the internet. With the first 3 elements of marketing communication taken care of, promotion is where they placed their focus. Netflix, placed fewer dollars in traditional media and increased in online expenditures as Solomon, Marshall, & Stuart, (2016) suggest. This included original content. House of Cards and Orange is the New Black put Netflix on the map, sparking subscriptions to the streaming application for the sole purpose of watching these shows (this is a statement of experience).
Another way Netflix knocked it out of the park was by giving their viewers a very loud voice. Reviews and star-ratings fed the popularity of their content and gave developers an idea of what content was being viewed, by whom, and what content was simply taking up space with poor reviews. Further, viewers could customize their own channels with “My List” giving marketing developers the opportunity to supply the direct demand of customers.
By 2010, the artificial intelligence could track nearly every aspect of a viewer’s experience, track trends within each video, and develop suggestions to other viewers based on their findings. Bernard Marr (2019) gives a great example, when looking into the top horror movies they offered, developers monitored movies to see at what point people turned them off because they were too scary. If many people watched a horror flick for one hour and fifteen minutes, but then turned it off around the same minute of viewing, the scene would be analyzed to determine if this movie made the cut. This was an effective way of developing customized channels such as “Because You Watched Super Scary Show”or “The Best of Horror”, for viewers who enjoyed this genre. Learning from other top internet based selling platforms, Netflix continues to suggest content to their viewers to drive continued loyalty.
It sounds so good, could it even get better? Of course it could! While a feature exists on the site to request specific content for Netflix to offer in the future, the company could offer suggestions of original content. Major adaptation deals like Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, are typically solicited by literary agents. Perhaps giving customers a direct voice to suggest book to video original content to the streaming service could improve the dialogue between the company and its viewers. If direct suggestions are difficult to vet, allowing viewers to vote on concepts for future shows would give them more ownership of content and a larger buy-in to the service.
Do you subscribe to Netflix? If not, is this a pointed decision? If you are a Netflix and Chill junky, what are you currently watching? I just finished Ozarks and am looking forward to the return of The Umbrella Academy.
Marr, B. (2019, June 24). How Does Netflix Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data . YouTube. https://youtu.be/8M5n3uhWKHE
Solomon, M. R., Marshall, G. W., & Stuart, E. W. (2016). Marketing: Real people, real choices (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson. Retrieved from https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781323322949/cfi/6/2!/4/2@0:0.00
Strategyzer.com. (2018, April 24). Netflix Business Model Strategy . YouTube. https://youtu.be/ZKrtUB-kMJc