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April 12, 2024

Top Streaming Service Netflix Dominates for a Reason

Netflix pushes on in the streaming business as competitors dial back or drop out entirely. As the company continues to innovate, expand and grow, let us take a quick look at Netflix’s history. By Ching Wai.

US - “Competitors are realising that streaming can be a great business but that it is also really hard and expensive - that has caused some competitors to dial back or exit countries entirely. We are all in,” is what EMEA content chief Larry Tanz told the Series Mania Forum about Netflix. The forum happened this year from 19 to 21 March.

Tanz continued, “We are continuing to invest and to grow our investments, I’m proud that we have done what we have said we would do in terms of plans and we will continue to do that.”

Netflix is currently working with more than 400 producers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and 40 ongoing productions in March. Netflix remains committed to its expansion despite streaming quotas popping up in countries like France. Tanz addressed concerns over streamer rights, emphasising that Netflix allegedly owns only 25% of its content in EMEA. “We only own the IP on 25% of our European projects,” Tanz said, “so it is really a range of deal structures that we do, we call them flexible.”

The key focus of the streaming giant is acquisitions, which allow Netflix to expand its offering. Tanz elaborated, “Two or three years ago we were doing almost no non-fiction – now it’s all over the region, we’ve just launched Love Is Blind Sweden and then at the other end of the cultural spectrum we have an Arabic-language version of Love Is Blind, which is for a wildly different culture and type of show.”

Netflix’s revenue amounted to 8.83 billion USD at the end of 2023.

A bit more on Netflix

The streaming service had humble beginnings - it launched as the first DVD rental and sales website with 30 employees and 925 available titles. Around that time, founders Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings ultimately turned down Jeff Bezos’ offer for Amazon to acquire Netflix.

The monthly subscription concept came in September 1999, when Netflix gradually transitioned to it from its per-rental model for each DVD. Video on demand via the internet was introduced in January 2007, when Netflix launched a streaming media service. As the streaming service continued to grow, Netflix began developing original content and expanding distribution in 2013, and then expanding into new and international productions in 2017.

Netflix had pulled out of the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 following controversies and backlash from screening films that have not been released in French theatres. But by 2022, Netflix had the most Academy Award and Emmy nominations and wins of any studio or network.

On top of more deals and partnerships, the company also expanded into gaming - a partnership with popular American game developer Telltale Games in 2018 allows users to play adventure games on the streaming service through a remote. Netflix Stories was announced in 2023 as a collection of interactive narrative games from Netflix series and films like Love is Blind, Money Heist and Virgin River.

In 2019, Netflix’s agreement with Disney ended with the launch of Disney+, as Disney’s content gradually became more exclusively available on its own streaming service.

As Netflix continues to acquire and roll out classic as well as original content, the company invests increasing amounts into international productions, which has proven to be a successful venture. The debut of Netflix’s original South Korean survival drama Squid Game saw a record number of views (over 111 million worldwide within a month), and the series quickly became the streaming service’s most-watched show.

Over 5 billion shipments of DVDs had been made by Netflix before the discontinuity of its DVD-by-mail service last September.

Last December, Netflix had begun releasing its biannual “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report”, with the first report including the viewerships of every original and licensed title watched more than 50 000 hours. Additionally, The Night Agent was named the most watched show globally from January to June 2023.

After more than two decades since its foundation in August 1997, Netflix now stands as the most subscribed video on demand streaming media service with 260.28 million subscribers in more than 190 countries worldwide (as of January 2024). The company also currently boasts of over 10 000 employees and over 140 partnerships of all kinds - content partnerships, original content collaborations, distribution partnerships, international expansion partnerships, technology partnerships, and advertising partnerships.

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