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Netflix’s Two Customers

‘Who is my customer?’ is a key business question and the ways a company looks at that question influences its approach. For Reed Hastings the question is oriented around media consumers and media producers.

The consumers.

These two stakeholders influence the strategy. About the 1.5X speed feature that so many railed against, Hastings said, “it’s an experiment, we’re always doing experiments to see if consumers even care about that. If consumers cared a lot we would go and talk with creators and see the use cases.”

The future of competition will be measured, Hastings said, in, “How do consumers vote with their evenings?” And there will be a lot of voters. Hastings gets this, When host Andrew Ross Sorkin addresses the international market Hastings notes that “It’s not one market.”

Population tailwinds have built many great business: Coca-Cola and Hershey. As people move from the land of linear TV to on-demand the number of consumers will grow and Netflix wants to serve some of them.

The producers.

One of the early advantages Netflix offered producers of content was control. Ted Sarandos said that part-of-the-reason they won the House of Cards bid was because they ordered a full-season and promised not to interfere. This is part of Jason Blum’s advantage too.

When asked why somoene can’t just copy what he does, Blum replied, “It’s very hard for producers and executives in Hollywood to get out of their own way.”

It almost sounds as-if the Netflix strategy is out of a movie: if you build it they will come.

A few other quotes I liked:

  • “A bubble has to go down again…linear TV is both a huge revenue and time source that’s declining and that’s fueling the growth of all the internet services.”
  • “We’ll continue to push the edge in entertainment (and have content) that people feel is unusual, something they haven’t seen before.”
  • “The original quote was that we compete more with Fortnite than HBO meaning that Fortnite gets a lot more hours of viewing…but we don’t compete with Fortnite by doing something like that because we’re not very good at that. We compete by doing the most amazing TV shows you’ve ever seen.”

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