If ever you need an example of a business that's managed to totally keep up with - and even help define - the times, look no further than Netflix. The multimedia powerhouse enjoys the kind of predominance in the film industry that all but ensures it'll never go out of style. But its ascent to the top of the celluloid food chain is anything but chance; indeed, the company owes its success to a carefully executed business strategy that has evolved with the years. Examining Netflix, we can understand how enterprises can - and should - exist in a state of constant innovation. .
Tracing the three major shifts
Remember Blockbuster Video? Or Hollywood Video, for that matter? If you're anything like us, then Friday afternoons were spent perusing their aisles, looking for DVDs or perhaps even a VHS tape. As The New Yorker points out, Netflix first emerged during this time, an era when rentals were still a thriving industry and the term "streaming" hadn't yet entered the film lexicon. But that was 17 years ago, and in the intervening years the entire film medium - not to mention modes of viewership - has experienced a tectonic shift. No longer do we rent movies. No longer are there Blockbusters and Hollywoods (the one in my town is now a Planet Fitness). Nope, now it's all about streaming. But Netflix endures.
How has Netflix stood the test of time while other rental services faltered and finally failed? As James Surowiecki explains in the New Yorker piece, it's all about adaptability. Whereas stores like Blockbuster were unable to change in order to meet evolving patron demands, Netflix not only evolved, but also helped lay the foundation for that evolution. Begun as a rental service, Netflix effortlessly parlayed its business into online streaming, something that hadn't been done on a large scale before. The shift has fundamentally changed the nature of film and television viewership. After all, how many people do you know who watch TV shows at the appointed hour? Because what I hear much more often is, "Eh, I'll just wait till it hits Netflix."
But the multimedia titan didn't end with streaming. In the third (though likely not final) stage of its evolution, the company launched its own line of original content, including the hugely popular "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards." By doing this, Netflix's business model now closely resembles that of HBO. Yet it seems this latter company has also been influenced by the former, since The New Yorker pointed out that HBO plans to debut HBO Go as its own streaming service next year. Meanwhile, Netflix's original content line couldn't be in a better place, with new seasons of both "Orange" and "Cards" planned, as well as a host of other shows. And as if that weren't enough, the business has recruited Happy Gilmore himself, Mr. Adam Sandler, to make four movies exclusively for Netflix. This begs the question: Is Netflix's fourth phase going to be the gradual supplanting of the movie theater? Honestly, we hope it's not. To us, Netflix and cinema can harmoniously coexist, and neither one needs to negate the other. At the end of the day, we enjoy the trip to the theater to see "Gone Girl" as much as a weekend spent binging on "Orange."
As far as your business goes, here's one way to pave the road for adaptability: implement a unified communications solution. By having a UC strategy in place, your business will be equipped with the tools to keep up with the times, from video conferencing and chat to advanced email solutions.