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  • David Remington

Will the Bandersnatch effect alter the way we watch TV?




With over 139 million worldwide paid subscribers - and an average of 2.5 viewers per subscriber (!) - Netflix is a business that knows what people want. Launched in 1998 at a time when Blockbuster dominated the industry, Netflix started by solving two key customer issues:


- Customers hated physically going to a store

- The stress and cost of late fees


They disrupted Blockbuster by sending DVDs through the post and had no late fees. Though there were only 925 titles to choose from, by solving these two customer issues they started gaining popularity over its well established rival. But here’s where Netflix differ to many other companies - they continued to disrupt and already disrupted industry. By embracing new technology, they managed not just to meet the evolving wants and needs of its customers, but to educate them as to what their wants even are. Enter the age of streaming...at a time that the internet was barely fast enough to stream music let alone high definition video.


In 2018, we all streamed over 1 billion hours of shows through Netflix….each week! It’s safe to say that streaming has nearly replaced all physical media types, such as VHS, DVD and Blue-ray. But Netflix doesn’t just stop there. They continue to work with film and TV producers who want to push the boundaries and even started creating their own content. Take Black Mirror’s latest episode, Bandersnatch, where the viewer has control over the story. This interactive episode asks viewers to choose what the characters should do, and provides a totally different viewing experience. Whilst only a minor disruption, it showcases that Netflix are far ahead of the competition when thinking outside the box and are continuing to be the disruptors and not the disrupted.


Disruption can occur from the most unlikely of places. If we take the transport industry as an example, who would have thought 10 years ago that self driving cars would be threatening to make car insurance a thing of the past...no drivers mean no-one to insure. The rise of cheap and convenient taxi services thanks to Uber has already made a big dent in car sales. And the rise of cloud computing and teleconferencing services has vastly reduced the need to physically travel in the first place. Who knows, it's possible that if in the future a Matrix style neural interface is created, we may never need to physically travel at all.


Getting back to the present, what is it that enables companies such as Netflix to create new digital experiences for the masses? It all starts with creativity - thinking outside the box, and understanding what people want and need, not just offering what people have historically been happy with. It also requires the right technology to enable rather than restrict this creativity.


Netflix utilise the services of RemiTech partners such as Box.com, to ensure that all their staff can work together as part of an agile team, rather than in silos. Their sensitive data is secure which means they’re free to focus on the more important things - giving us what we want, when we want it!


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