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Netflix: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Inside This Article

Netflix has become a household name in the streaming industry. Since its inception in 1997, it has revolutionized the way we consume media. In this blog post, we will delve into Netflix's business model, conduct a SWOT analysis, and explore its competitors in the year 2023. As the streaming industry continues to evolve, it's important to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing the company, as well as the competition it faces in the market.

What you will learn:

  • Who owns Netflix and the history of the company's ownership
  • The mission statement of Netflix and how it guides the company's decisions
  • How Netflix makes money through its subscription-based business model and other revenue streams
  • A breakdown of Netflix's business model canvas, including its key partners, activities, and resources
  • The major competitors of Netflix in the streaming industry and how they compare
  • An analysis of Netflix's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis.

Who owns Netflix?

Netflix is a publicly traded company, which means that it is owned by its shareholders. As of 2021, the top shareholders of Netflix are institutional investors, including Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and State Street Corporation.

The company was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, who owned a majority of the shares in the early years of the company. However, as Netflix grew and went public in 2002, ownership became more dispersed among shareholders.

Today, Hastings remains a major shareholder and serves as the co-CEO of the company. Other executives and board members, as well as employees, also hold shares in the company.

Despite the dispersed ownership structure, Netflix is known for its strong corporate culture and commitment to long-term growth. The company has been able to attract and retain top talent, and its stock price has consistently outperformed the broader market in recent years.

In summary, while Netflix is technically owned by its shareholders, the company's success is due in large part to the vision and leadership of its founders and executives. As the streaming industry continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how Netflix adapts and continues to grow in the years to come.

What is the mission statement of Netflix?

Netflix is a popular streaming platform that has taken the world by storm. The company's mission statement is "To entertain the world." This simple statement speaks volumes about the company's approach to content creation and distribution. Netflix believes that entertainment is a fundamental part of human life and that it has the power to bring people together.

The company's mission statement is reflected in its content strategy. Netflix produces a wide range of original content, including movies, TV shows, and documentaries, that are designed to appeal to audiences from all walks of life. Whether you're a fan of action movies, romantic comedies, or science fiction, there's something for everyone on Netflix.

But Netflix's mission statement goes beyond just providing entertainment. The company is committed to creating a culture of inclusion and diversity. This is reflected in the shows and movies that it produces, which feature characters from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Netflix also supports a number of initiatives aimed at promoting diversity in the entertainment industry.

Finally, Netflix's mission statement is focused on innovation. The company is constantly experimenting with new content formats and distribution methods in order to stay ahead of the curve. From interactive movies to choose-your-own-adventure shows, Netflix is always pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the world of entertainment.

In conclusion, Netflix's mission statement is simple but powerful. The company is dedicated to entertaining the world while promoting diversity and innovation. And judging by the millions of subscribers who tune in to watch their content every day, it's clear that they're doing something right.

How does Netflix make money?

Netflix is one of the most successful streaming services in the world, boasting over 208 million subscribers as of 2021. But how does the company make money?

Firstly, Netflix generates revenue through subscription fees. Users pay a monthly fee to access Netflix's vast library of TV shows, movies, and documentaries. This subscription model is the primary source of income for Netflix, with different subscription plans catering to different needs and budgets.

Secondly, Netflix makes money through licensing deals. The company licenses content from studios and networks to add to its library. This allows Netflix to offer a wide range of content to its subscribers without having to produce it themselves. However, licensing deals can be expensive, and Netflix has been investing more in producing its own content in recent years to reduce its reliance on licensed content.

Thirdly, Netflix makes money through merchandise sales. The company has created merchandise for some of its most popular shows, including Stranger Things, The Crown, and Narcos. This merchandise includes t-shirts, mugs, and other items, which fans can purchase on the Netflix website. This generates additional revenue for the company and helps to promote its shows.

Finally, Netflix also makes money through partnerships and collaborations. For example, the company has partnered with telecom operators to offer its services to their subscribers. Netflix has also collaborated with brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, and Uber to promote its shows and increase its reach. These partnerships not only generate revenue for Netflix but also help to increase brand recognition and awareness.

In conclusion, Netflix's revenue streams include subscription fees, licensing deals, merchandise sales, and partnerships and collaborations. These diverse revenue streams have helped the company become one of the most successful streaming services in the world.

Netflix Business Model Canvas Explained

Netflix is a leading streaming platform that offers a wide range of movies, TV shows, and documentaries to its subscribers. The company's business model is based on a subscription-based model, which allows users to access its content library for a monthly fee. In this section, we will explore the different elements of the Netflix Business Model Canvas.

Key Partnerships

Netflix's key partnerships are with entertainment studios and production companies. The company has partnerships with major players in the entertainment industry such as Disney, Warner Bros, and Universal Pictures. These partnerships allow Netflix to acquire a wide range of content for its subscribers and maintain its position as a leading streaming platform.

Key Activities

Netflix's key activities include content acquisition, content production, and content distribution. The company invests heavily in content acquisition to ensure that it has a diverse and extensive content library for its subscribers. Additionally, Netflix invests in content production to create original content that is exclusive to the platform. Finally, the company focuses on content distribution to ensure that its content is accessible to subscribers worldwide.

Key Resources

Netflix's key resources include its content library, technology infrastructure, and human resources. The company's content library is its most valuable resource, and it invests heavily in acquiring and producing content to maintain its competitive position. Additionally, Netflix has a sophisticated technology infrastructure that enables it to deliver content seamlessly to its subscribers. Finally, the company's human resources are critical to its success, and it employs a talented team of professionals who are responsible for content acquisition, production, and distribution.

Value Proposition

Netflix's value proposition is its extensive content library, which offers subscribers a wide range of content to choose from. Additionally, the company's recommendation algorithm ensures that users are presented with content that is tailored to their preferences, enhancing the user experience. Finally, Netflix's subscription-based model offers users an affordable and flexible way to access its content library.

Customer Segments

Netflix's customer segments include individuals, families, and businesses. The company targets individuals who are interested in streaming movies and TV shows, families who want to access a wide range of content for their children, and businesses that use the platform for training and development purposes.

Revenue Streams

Netflix's revenue streams are primarily from subscription fees. The company offers a range of subscription plans that cater to different user needs, including basic, standard, and premium plans. Additionally, the company generates revenue from licensing its original content to other platforms and merchandise sales.

The Netflix Business Model Canvas highlights the key elements of the company's business model, including its key partnerships, activities, resources, value proposition, customer segments, and revenue streams. By focusing on these elements, Netflix has been able to build a successful streaming platform that has disrupted the entertainment industry and changed the way people consume content.

Which companies are the competitors of Netflix?

Netflix is a household name when it comes to entertainment, but it's not the only player in the game. Several other companies are vying for a piece of the streaming market share. Here are some of Netflix's main competitors:

Amazon Prime Video: Amazon's streaming service offers a vast collection of movies and TV shows, including popular original content like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "The Boys." Like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video is available on multiple devices and offers offline viewing.

Hulu: Hulu is a joint venture between Disney, Fox, and NBCUniversal. It offers a mix of current and classic TV shows, as well as a growing collection of original content like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Little Fires Everywhere." Hulu also offers a live TV option, which sets it apart from its competitors.

Disney+: Launched in late 2019, Disney+ has quickly become a major player in the streaming market. With its extensive catalog of classic Disney movies and TV shows, as well as new original content like "The Mandalorian" and "WandaVision," Disney+ is a must-have for families and Disney fans.

HBO Max: HBO Max is the streaming service from WarnerMedia, and it offers a mix of HBO content, including popular shows like "Game of Thrones" and "The Sopranos," as well as new original content like "The Flight Attendant" and "Mare of Easttown."

Apple TV+: Apple's streaming service launched in 2019 with a small but growing collection of original content, including "Ted Lasso" and "The Morning Show." Like its competitors, Apple TV+ is available on multiple devices and offers offline viewing.

While Netflix is still the king of streaming, these competitors are quickly catching up. As the market continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how these companies continue to compete and differentiate themselves from one another.

Netflix SWOT Analysis

When it comes to analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of Netflix, it is essential to consider the current landscape of the streaming industry. Here's a closer look at Netflix's SWOT analysis:

Original Content - Netflix has invested heavily in creating original content, which has helped them stand out from the competition.

Large User Base - With over 200 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix has a massive user base that gives it a significant advantage over other streaming services.

Convenience - With a vast library of content available to stream anytime, anywhere, Netflix has made it incredibly convenient for users to watch their favorite shows and movies.

Data-Driven Approach - Netflix uses data to understand their audience better, which allows them to create more targeted content and improve the user experience.


Dependence on Licensed Content - While Netflix has invested heavily in original content, it still relies heavily on licensed content from other studios, which can be expensive and may not always be available.

Price Increases - Netflix has raised its prices multiple times, which can lead to user churn if the value doesn't match the cost.

Limited International Reach - While Netflix is available in many countries, it still has limited reach in some regions, which can impact growth potential.


International Expansion - Netflix can continue to expand its reach into new markets, which can help drive growth and increase revenue.

Partnerships - Netflix can partner with other companies to expand its content offerings and reach new audiences.

Vertical Integration - Netflix could explore vertical integration strategies, such as acquiring production studios or partnering with content distributors, to control costs and increase control over the content it offers.

Competition - Netflix faces intense competition from other streaming services, such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu.

Piracy - The rise of illegal streaming and piracy can impact Netflix's revenue and user base.

Content Costs - As content costs continue to rise, it may become more challenging for Netflix to continue investing in new original content and licensed content.

Key Takeaways

  • Netflix is owned by a mix of individual and institutional investors, with co-founder Reed Hastings owning the largest share.
  • The mission statement of Netflix is to "give people the power to entertain themselves, anytime, anywhere."
  • Netflix primarily makes money through subscription-based revenue from its streaming service, as well as DVD and Blu-ray rentals and sales.
  • Netflix's business model canvas focuses on key activities such as content creation and acquisition, technology development, and customer acquisition and retention.
  • Netflix's main competitors include Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and traditional cable and satellite TV providers. A SWOT analysis of Netflix highlights its strengths in content creation and customer loyalty, but also identifies potential threats from new entrants in the streaming market and rising content costs.

In conclusion, Netflix is a streaming giant that has revolutionized the entertainment industry. The company was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1997 and is currently owned by its shareholders. Netflix's mission statement is to provide an affordable and convenient way for people to access the world's best entertainment. The company generates revenue through subscription fees and has expanded its content offerings to include original programming. The Netflix Business Model Canvas illustrates how the company operates by creating value for customers and stakeholders. Netflix's competitors include other streaming services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. Finally, a SWOT analysis of Netflix highlights its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the current market. Overall, Netflix's success can be attributed to its innovative approach to content delivery and its ability to adapt to changing consumer demands.

What is Netflix SWOT analysis weakness?

High Dependence on Content Licensing: Netflix relies heavily on content licensing agreements with major media companies. This makes them vulnerable to potential changes in licensing costs and terms.

Threat from New Competitors: Netflix faces threats from new competitors such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO Now, YouTube Red, and Hulu. These companies have larger budgets and huge libraries of content, making it difficult for Netflix to compete.

Difficulty in Monetizing Original Content: It is difficult for Netflix to monetize its original content, as the company does not have its own streaming platform or advertising capabilities.

Limited International Presence: Netflix has a limited international presence since it is only available in a handful of countries. This limits its potential customer base and restricts its growth.

What are some of Netflix strengths and weaknesses?

  • Wide selection of content and genres
  • High-quality streaming technology
  • User-friendly platform
  • Strong branding and marketing
  • Easy to access and use
  • Competitive pricing
  • Extensive library of titles
  • Lack of live sports and news programming
  • Lack of original content compared to competitors
  • Limited library of titles in some regions
  • Slow release of current content
  • Limited international content library
  • Limited advertising capabilities
  • Difficulty customizing user profiles

What are the opportunities and threats of Netflix?

Expansion into new markets: Netflix has the potential to expand into new markets and increase its customer base.

Development of exclusive content: Netflix has the potential to develop exclusive content that customers can’t find anywhere else. This would help to increase customer loyalty.

Increase in subscriber base: Netflix has the potential to increase its subscriber base by offering more subscription options.

Increase in revenue: Netflix has the potential to increase its revenue by offering additional services such as advertising and subscription upgrades.

Increased competition: Netflix faces increased competition from other streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Piracy: Piracy is a major threat to Netflix as illegal downloads of content can reduce its viewership and revenue.

Price wars: Netflix may be forced to reduce its subscription prices in order to compete with other streaming services.

Technology changes: Technology changes such as the development of virtual reality could cause Netflix’s business model to become obsolete.

What are some of Netflix weaknesses?

Limited Content in Certain Countries: Netflix’s content selection varies from country to country due to regional licensing deals, meaning that certain countries may not have access to the same content as others.

Lack of Advertising: Netflix does not have any commercials or ads, which means that it does not have a dedicated advertising budget to promote its content.

High Competition: Netflix faces stiff competition from other streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, which are all competing for the same content and viewers.

Expensive Fees: Netflix has high subscription fees compared to other streaming services, which can be a barrier for some people.

Increased Piracy: As Netflix’s popularity grows, so does the potential for piracy, as users may be more likely to access content illegally if they don’t have a subscription to the service.

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Business Strategy Hub

Netflix Business Model (2023) | How does Netflix make money

Last Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Company: Netflix, Inc. Co-CEO:  Ted Sarandos & Greg Peters Year founded: 1997 Headquarter:  Los Gatos, USA Type: Public Ticker Symbol: NFLX (NASDAQ) Market Cap (Feb 2023):  $ 162.95 Billion Annual Revenue(FY22): $ 31.6 Billion Profit |Net income (FY22): $ 4.49 Billion

Products & Services:  Netflix Official Website | Monthly Subscription Plans | Video Recommendation-Algorithm System Offerings Streaming Options Domestic (featured tool) | International Streaming Options and Features Competitors:   Amazon Prime Video | HULU | YouTube | Direct TV | Sony PlayStation’s Vue | HBO | Sling TV | HotStar | Disney + | Apple TV+

Table of Contents

Introduction to Netflix, Inc.

Netflix, Inc . happens to be one of the most successful entertainment mass-media-companies of all times. Netflix, Inc. originally began its inception in 1998 by providing services to customers through means of mailing out physical copies of movies, shows, video games and other forms of media through standard mailing system.

Through its successful startup and the rapid changes that technology introduced over time, Netflix converted its business model . They went from physical copies handouts to allowing customers streaming their favorite contents from the comfort of their own convenience.

Today, the platform has advanced to streaming technologies that have elevated and improved Netflix’s overall business structure and revenue. The platform provides its viewers the ability to stream and watch a variety of TV shows, movies, documentaries and much more, through means of using a software application.

Since Netflix converted to streaming, it is the world’s ninth-largest internet company by revenue , ranging its presence at a global scale. The following is a compilation that comprises specifications of Netflix’s business canvas model and its core operations.

Business Model Canvas of Netflix

Business Model Canvas of Netflix

1. Netflix’s Key Partners

Netflix has built more than 35+ partners across the media business. Netflix today has millions of different types of genres for subscribers to select from and enjoy watching. 

  • Built alliances with Smart TV companies like LG and Sony for new emerging markets and several other aspects.
  • Netflix has set an alliance with Wii , X-Box , PlayStation and many other brands in the gaming industry. Netflix built partnerships to provide and cater its “ gamer-clients ” with an entertainment video game.
  • Netflix joined forces and partnered with Dish, Tivo and other TV network companies.
  • Netflix crucial phase of converting the business from mail-in-system to streaming, Netflix established a partnership with Apple , Android, and Microsoft .
  • Finally, Netflix joined the network and big data providers like Google and Amazon . (Amazon was accompanied to promote Netflix listings and subscription options)
  • Netflix recently partnered with Samsung to further integrate its streaming service with Galaxy smartphones. In exchange, Samsung users will benefit from Netflix’s original shows and special bonus content.
  • To expand in West Africa more aggressively, Netflix partnered with Nigerian filmmaker Mo Abudu , the owner of Ebony Life TV. This partnership will enable Netflix to create new content targeting consumers in West African nations.

2. Netflix’s Value Propositions

Netflix strategizes methods and aims to provide the best customer experience by deploying valuable propositions.

Here are a few of what Netflix idolizes:

  • Users can stream 24-7, minus the ads !
  • View shows & movies in high-definition
  • Stream content conveniently anywhere without going to a DVD store or theatre
  • Get unlimited access to TV shows and movies
  • Access to exclusive Netflix’s original movies or shows
  • New signups can avail a 30-day free trial ( 1 month free of services )
  • Contract-oriented but can cancel at any time !
  • Access locally-produced and culturally-relevant content
  • Receive algorithmic recommendation for new items to watch
  • Avoid commercials ads- Some people like looking at commercials and other advertisements and some people avoid them.
  • At Netflix, users have the flexibility to either turn on notifications and suggestions or keep them switched off.
  • Netflix “ user profiles ” gives leverage for users to personalize their user account and preferences. The User profiles allow the “admin-user” to modify, allow or ever restrict certain users
  • Sharing accounts options is one of the rarest features a movie platform can provide. Sharing accounts feature on Netflix allows spouses, friends or even groups to share an account with specific filters and preferences already set.
  • Netflix solves the issues with theaters and mainstream media that frustrated most consumers. The company promises to solve the problems of its target with four simple words – Watch Anywhere. Cancel Anytime .

what is business model of netflix

3. Netflix’s Key Activities

  • Hire and retain software and tech geeks
  • Maintain and expand its platform on the website, Mobile apps, TV apps.
  • Produce, acquire and license Netflix’s original content to expand its video library
  • Develop its pricing strategy and subscription model to ensure affordability and new customer acquisition.
  • Develop a roadmap to enter into the new market .
  • Ensure great user recommendation to retain current customer base.
  • Build and secure a partnership with Studios and content production house
  • Negotiate the deals with Studios, Content providers and Movie production houses
  • Comply with the laws (laws as per to State or Region/country), maintaining compliance to censorship , specifically for minors and children. Netflix has always promoted and operated within the boundaries of censorship.
  • Supporting disadvantaged communities and other ideological issues that are important to its customers. 
  • Building local communities and economies that support the development of its local original content .

what is business model of netflix

4. Netflix’s Customer Segments

  • The Netflix platform is designed to offer a vast collection of different types of genres for subscribers to select from. Their collection (movies or shows) are designed appropriately for
  • Everyone, who is interested in watching movies, TV shows and documentaries – and honestly who isn’t?
  • Although Netflix offers content for children and adults alike, Netflix aims to promote Family-friendly , educational and entertaining content to help capture the better interests of families.

what is business model of netflix

5. Netflix’s Customer Relationships

Self-setup made easy.

  • Netflix platform was originally designed to ensure that it is simple and easy to use.
  • Developers of the Website ensured to associate elements and themes that serves and promotes friendliness and provides a self-setup

Exceptional Customer Experience

  • Netflix provides customer services through means of the website portal, email inquiries and users have the option to reach a representative directly, by telephone and live chat.

Online Live Chat Services

  • Users have the option to opt-in to a live chat session with a Netflix representative.
  • Users can directly chat with a Netflix representative to ask questions and support related inquiries.
  • Request for discounts and other special promotional deals that they may qualify or offer such user or subscriber.

Social media

  • Channeling major advertisements, deals, and other promotional deals through Social media channels and other relative platforms to help gain the high attraction of customer and new sign up users conversions.
  • Social media is also used to inform and update individuals that operate or are familiar with the Netflix platform. Such platforms may include Facebook , LinkedIn , Instagram, Twitter , Snapchat etc.

Netflix gift Cards

  • Part of the subscription plan, all users will be geared to receive special promotional discounts and other gift cards to avail.

6. Netflix’s Key Resources

Software developers.

  • Software developers at Netflix are at constant innovation
  • Design and enhance to help create a better customer-user experience

Recommendation system (algorithm)

  • Artificial intelligence and selection preference sequence technology helps developers design and build the recommendation algorithm system for its users.
  • Some data are based on “new releases,” or internal data that identifies user watch selection and the most viewed.
  • Provides users with relative results based off of frequent searches

7. Netflix’s Channels

Through Netflix’s channeling sequence, users and interested users can access Netflix platform from one or more of the following;

  • Online streaming through the website
  • Streaming through Mobile apps
  • Streaming on TV Apps and Gaming consoles
  • Mail delivery for DVDs

8. Netflix’s Cost Structure

  • Major purchasing rights establishment (TV shows and movies)
  • Cost of producing movies
  • Cost for providing personalized recommendations, R&D and artificial intelligence
  • Subscription maintenance cost
  • Paid-Connection deal with Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Comcast to stream Netflix data at high speed.
  • Infrastructure (data centers) cost of streaming content
  • DVDs and mail-related shipping costs
  • Employee salary distribution (customer service, Engineers, etc.)

what is business model of netflix

9. Netflix’s Revenue Streams

It wasn’t until 2007, when Netflix launched “streaming” services through Netflix subscription plans , that it attained significant revenue streams and additional revenues.  

  • Monthly subscriptions fees with three different price options In US market (Basic – $8.99/month, Standard – $12.99/ month & Premium – $15.99/ month)
  • Netflix has established a global presence with international streaming to expand its customer base.
  • Upselling opportunities – Upgrade from Basic to Premium Plan etc.
  • Money-making movie studio with Netflix original shows like fuller house, house of cards, etc.

what is business model of netflix

How does Netflix Make Money?

Netflix was a platform which started as only offering an extensive collection of movies, shows and dramas (925 listings) through the mail-in-delivery system . It wasn’t till 2007 when Netflix has decided to convert their business structure from mail-in-system to streaming content based on subscriptions. Before launching online streaming in 2007, Netflix revenue on average summed at annually at around $997 million . 

Subscription-based Business Model

  • Netflix has over 230 million members from over 190 countries (as of Dec 2022)
  • In fiscal year 2022, Netflix generated  $31.6 billion annual revenue from both the United States and international regions.

Important partnerships

  • One of the most influential tactics implemented was its ability to build alliances with a wide range of movie producers, filmmakers , writer, and animators to receive content and legally broadcasting the contents required aligning licenses.
  • To make the Netflix platform and its streaming possible, setting the partnership between Internet Service provider was also crucially important.

Technology ( Monolithic architecture )

  • Technology platforms allowed “streaming” accessibility to become convenient and unique and during their conversion year in 2007, not a lot of media companies offered such, which made the platform greatly attractive.

How does Netflix Make Money?

During the early year in 2000, Blockbuster was offered to purchase Netflix and all of its assets for only $50 million .

As of feb 2023, Netflix is worth $163   Billion in market cap value. Perhaps, it isn’t really about what a company sells, rather, it’s about how a company sells or promotes its products.

Through Netflix’s powerful technological tactics, innovating the accessibilities has helped to increase customer/user experience positively. Netflix implemented in several areas that helped to capture the global market. 

 References & more information

  • Netflix Annual Report

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Flipkart business model | how does flipkart make money, 11 comments.

what is business model of netflix

Informative article, exactly what I needed.

what is business model of netflix

Informative article!

what is business model of netflix

Thanks Umar, Happy reading !

what is business model of netflix

Disney+ next?:)

what is business model of netflix

really a good one

Thanks Luca !

what is business model of netflix

Yes, artical was very informative. Thank you.

Kirby – Thank you for the great feedback, really appreciate it. Happy reading !!!

what is business model of netflix

excellent insight

what is business model of netflix

Great article! Where can I find the list of sources you used? Thank you!

The Primary source of the article is Netflix’s Annual report – you can find the link in the reference section. And for secondary sources, links are embedded within the article.

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what is business model of netflix

  • Main content

How Netflix has changed the global entertainment industry

  • Dominant streamer Netflix continues to rewrite the playbook for global entertainment.
  • The company drove other major media conglomerates to launch streaming services of their own.
  • As it faces headwinds, Netflix has launched an ad tier and entered the video game market.

Insider Today

Since Netflix began its worldwide expansion in 2016, the streaming service has rewritten the playbook for global entertainment — from TV to film, and, more recently, video games.

Hollywood used to export most global hit series and movies. Now, thanks to Netflix's investments in international TV and film, programs like South Korea's "Squid Game," Spain's "Money Heist," and France's "Lupin" are finding massive audiences around the world. And Netflix's English-language original series, such as Shonda Rhimes' "Bridgerton," Ryan Murphy's "Dahmer," and Tim Burton's "Wednesday," have broken the streamer's internal streaming viewership records. 

Even as writers' and actors' strikes have shut down Hollywood production, and other streamers rack up losses , Netflix has been riding high . After a dip in 2022, its stock has soared in 2023 and it's making headway with its crackdown on password sharing and its ad-supported subscription tier.

Netflix's impact on the global TV industry remains undeniable.

How Netflix disrupted the global TV industry

The streamer figured out that to thrive on an international stage it needed both US mass-market programming like "Stranger Things" as well as local content that could win over viewers in specific markets (and produce breakout hits).

The strategy helped the streaming service grow its customer base to 238 million global paid subscribers.

Its momentum also reinvigorated production in places like Germany, Mexico, and India, as companies like Amazon, Disney, WarnerMedia, and Apple follow Netflix's lead. 

More on Netflix's effect on global TV:

  • Netflix's 'Squid Game' is part of a robust international TV strategy that's far ahead of rivals
  • 10 reasons 'Squid Game' became a global phenomenon, according to a Netflix marketing exec
  • International TV producers describe how streaming competition is changing their markets
  • Data shows Netflix is leaning into international TV shows in its upcoming projects
  • How to sell a show to Netflix with the help of an easily digestible pitch document
  • A Netflix slide deck shows how it's trying to fix lofty problems in personalization

The streamer's executive team was rebuilt with a global focus

After breaking all of Hollywood's rules and disrupting everything about the entertainment industry, Netflix — since its first-ever subscriber loss — has been breaking its own rules, reversing its stances on password sharing and advertising.

It also carried out a change of the guard , elevating Greg Peters to co-CEO alongside Ted Sarandos in January as cofounder Reed Hastings moved to executive chair.

Meanwhile, TV head Bela Bajaria was named chief content officer, a title formerly held by Sarandos, with film chief Scott Stuber reporting to her. 

Peters earlier had hired a new talent chief with international experience , former PepsiCo executive Sergio Ezama, to lead Netflix's global workforce.

The company also formed an elite team of interdisciplinary execs to help make its biggest decisions. Known internally as the "Lstaff" — the "L" stands for leadership — the 25-member group sits between the company's officers and its larger executive corps of vice presidents and above, who are called the "Estaff."

More on Netflix's corporate structure:

  • Netflix insiders describe its new co-CEO as 'hyper rational' and a behind-the-scenes power player leading key expansions in ads, gaming, and more
  • Netflix org chart: The 71 most powerful people at the streamer and who they report to
  • Netflix says subscribers to its ads plan have doubled. Meet the 19 execs driving the streamer's aggressive push into advertising.
  • The top data science execs at Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, and more Hollywood companies
  • Netflix salaries revealed: How much engineers, marketers, content execs, and others get paid

Netflix has seen its first wide layoffs, though it continues to grow

The corporate restructuring hasn't been without obstacles. The company in April 2022 laid off 25 full-time staffers in its marketing department, which included the dismissal of some writers at recently launched fan site Tudum , followed by another 150 cuts last May and the elimination of 30 animation jobs last September. Layoffs for all of 2022 impacted at least 450 full-time Netflix staffers and dozens of contractors as the broader media and entertainment space grapples with a bear market .

Still, the company's growth has generally made it a desirable place to work in recent years, despite some tests its corporate culture has faced. Public US work-visa data shows that Netflix, which says its pays staffers "market value," has offered six-figure annual base salaries for lots of roles in engineering , content, marketing, finance, and more.

More on Netflix's business model and company culture: 

  • Netflix is Hollywood's most confident company this summer, with a soaring stock price and a global content machine to help it ride out the actors' strike: 'They just aren't worried'
  • Netflix insiders describe a culture shift to 'fear-based' decision making, execs stretched thin, and belt tightening amid layoffs and subscriber losses
  • Netflix insiders reveal 'contentious' debates over how data drives creative decisions, and why beloved series don't always get renewed
  • Netflix spending cuts fuel fears that its golden creative age is over
  • Netflix exec reveals sports ambitions and what's next for live sports as golf series 'Full Swing' debuts
  • Netflix is still hiring for hundreds of roles across its games studio, engineering teams, and more. Salary data shows how much the company has offered for 180 different jobs.

Netflix's next frontiers include advertising and gaming

Netflix is facing more competition than ever from an influx of rivals that are learning to play its game.

Nearly every major media company, from Disney to Apple to Warner Bros. Discovery, now runs a streaming service. Their platforms are stockpiled with tentpole movies and TV shows that used to only be found in theaters or on linear TV, and their libraries now rival Netflix's, particularly as they claw back programming that had been previously licensed to Netflix.

The competition is pushing the streaming giant to keep evolving.

Netflix has expanded into podcasting and started peddling merchandise for series like "Squid Game" and "The Witcher." 

After announcing in spring 2022 that it would explore introducing a cheaper, ad-supporter tier to combat slowing subscriber growth, Netflix in August hired Snap executives Jeremi Gorman and Peter Naylor to lead its new ad sales business .

The ad tier launched in the US in November 2022 for $6.99 a month , a steep discount to its ad-free standard tier that costs $15.49 a month. 

Some creators worried that Netflix will take fewer risks on programming in order to please advertisers, while the service has been slow to meet the scale demanded by advertisers. 

The company is also bringing video games into its mobile streaming app.

It hired in July 2021 Facebook's former head of Reality Labs, Mike Verdu, as its vice president of game development, and has been hiring for other video-game-related jobs .

The streamer has approached gaming like it did movies and TV shows. It's starting slowly by commissioning and licensing mobile games, some of which are based on existing franchises like "Stranger Things." It's acquired companies to kickstart the business, and plans to experiment with other kinds of video-game storytelling, as it did with its original series.

"Maybe someday we'll see a game that spawns a film or a series," Peters told investors in July 2022. "That would be an amazing place to get to and really see the rich interplay between these sort of different forms of entertainment."

More on Netflix's advertising and gaming ambitions: 

  • Netflix has launched its ad-supported tier — here's everything we know about how the streaming giant is pitching advertisers
  • Netflix's stock surged after the company's first TV upfront presentation. Meet the 19 execs driving its advertising push
  • Why Netflix is placing cars like the Chevy Bolt in its shows, and what the streamer's deal with GM means for its growing advertising business
  • How Netflix leaders, including its new co-CEO, are thinking about a FAST streaming service that could supercharge its ads business
  • Netflix is doubling down on gaming, with dozens of new hires and a dedicated studio, as it chases younger audiences and battles to turn back subscriber losses

Elaine Low contributed to an earlier version of this post.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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how does netflix make money

How Does Netflix Make Money? (Business & Revenue Model)

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Want to know how Netflix succeeds to be the premium player of the OTT Industry and how does Netflix makes money through various business models and streaming partnerships.

Netflix has pioneered TV and video streaming as the world’s largest OTT streaming service , so it’s no surprise that we have 8.3 Million paying customers with viewers in 190 countries across the world. 

Netflix has taught consumers to value their “me time” at home. When I signed up for this online entertainment solution, I myself discovered its exclusivity with plenty of eyes-glued goodies! No wonder why users of Netflix stream content 24/7. Apparently, this is where binge-watching got introduced, isn’t it…. But, in the thick of it all, the key aspect that kept coming up was, How does Netflix earn money?

Let’s take a look at how this streaming behemoth makes money from all-time on-demand content such as movies and shows available on their online video platform .

Table of Contents

What is Netflix?

Netflix is all about the premium streaming companies with a vast content catalog. There’s no denying it: Netflix is the best video streaming services that’s here to beat, according to experts.

What is Netflix

What’s more that calls for attention are that they offer around 3000 films and shows of various genres keeping the demographic choices & retention churn in mind to expand their online viewership. Moreover, lots of must-watch originals create traction that is both entertaining as well as aspirational which answers how Netflix makes ravishing money replacing cable subscriptions effortlessly!

Reed Hastings & Marc Randolph, two American entrepreneurs, founded Netflix, Inc. in 1997. Netflix officially began streaming in 2007 and it operates in nearly every country that you name. Los Angeles, Los Gatos, and New York City are all home to Netflix’s headquarters.

Netflix Founders

Every year, an increasing number of US consumers cut the cord with their cable provider. Surely for the past decade if you’ve been constantly tethered to cable box then you haven’t experienced a plethora of streaming platforms available. Although, several options that everyone should begin are timely enlightened.. But, there is this best one that you prefer to start your hunt with… & Netflix fits in that category aptly… 

So… Let me explain. 

How Netflix Works?

Netflix’s design will be instantly familiar if you’ve ever used a streaming service, but even newcomers will find it quite simple to get started.

how does netflix work

Your queue will be your primary source of movies that are made navigational-friendly. On the Netflix OTT TV app and website, you’ll see a small plus sign in a circle while browsing content. This button adds items to your queue to be viewed later.

You’ll be surprised to know that thousands of recommendations are made every second based on more than 5 Billion movie evaluations, and the recommendations algorithm is constantly updating! 

According to Netflix, the average Netflix user has rated roughly 200 movies, with about 4 million fresh ratings added each day. Source: Howstuffworks

Now that’s a key point to consider!

Furthermore, this algorithm tells Netflix’s servers to utilize data from its system databases to figure out which movies a customer is likely to keenly have interests to watch.

Here’s the buying aspect & hidden secret of how does Netflix makes phenomenal money..  By all means, maximized utility of advanced technology has to do its magic!!  Netflix offers many rows of movie and television show options, grouped by category, beneath your queue. 

Take a chance on Netflix’s recommendations if you’ve progressed beyond the point when you’re simply watching every blockbuster movie. You’ll be delightedly shocked at how accurate they are.

The key highlight is revealed with a simple but majestic start at the racecourse of becoming nothing below number one! 

And that would come across something like the one below.. 

“Rather than collecting income from a single title, their major business strategy lies at the core with subscription-based video monetization . As a result, when an occurrence or change in circumstances signals a natural shift in the expected usefulness, content assets, that’s both licensed and self-produced, are examined aggregately in the operating phase level.”

In the upcoming segment, we can know what are the trade secrets followed by Netflix to be a standalone player and achieve the pinnacle of the streaming industry.   

How does Netflix make money?

Netflix makes money from the following sources: subscriptions, important partnerships, and ad revenue. 

Subscribers are given access to movies, shows, and other Netflix originals by subscriptions from any of the three plans – basic, standard, and premium. 

Almost 90% of all its revenue ($32 billion in 2022) comes from subscriptions and partnerships, while ~10% comes from advertising.

But before we jump into the details, let us take a look at what made this possible for Netflix. 

The way we consume traditional media is changing thanks to Netflix. Certainly, while Netflix has emerged to beat & be an impactful stalwart, traditional means of experiencing entertainment, has got itself to the tip of the iceberg! 

Right from series like Stranger Things , Black Mirror, and Narcos has grown with a subscriber base of more than 50,000 worldwide.. 

There’s an untold truth, of how Netflix became a media powerhouse.. Well, surely the creators did not taste its success all midnight…  Then, what would it be.. Let’s see below!

Netflix DVD rental business

Just like any other startup, Netflix too has a founding myth. According to the narrative, Netflix founder and CEO Reed Hastings has explained how the company came to be:

Since launching in 1997 it all started with the at-home DVD rental business model, Netflix has since pivoted to being a leading Over-the-Top (OTT) entertainment platform. It was the very year when it knew it still had a long way to go before Netflix achieved its global scale and international expansion, which occurred in 2017.

The business began producing its own original shows in 2013, including the critically acclaimed House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black . If we answer the question of how much money does Netflix makes, we’ll know that it is valued at $141 billion due to its present offerings of both original and licensed television shows, movies, and documentaries.

Later in the 2020s, Netflix introduced its current business model

Netflix had a market capitalization of $240 billion dollars since October 2020. The reason behind its thriving excellence is not really dependent on what the firm sells,  but rather about how it sells or advertises its products. Nevertheless, innovating accessibilities has helped to improve customer/user experience using big giant’s powerful technological techniques. If we take an estimate on how much money does Netflix makes in a month, we come to know that its primary source of revenue comes from its large subscription base, which ranges from $9.99 to 19.99 per month.

As mentioned earlier, having an estimate of 8.3 Million paid customers globally, it amazingly surprises content streamers as how does Netflix network manage to make up money either with or without ads each quarter? Let’s find out here!

1. Subscription-based Model

netflix business model

It goes without saying that, subscribed users choose from a variety of subscription VOD plans, leveling them to watch Netflix shows online. The fact comes to my mind about Netflix’s paradigm shift of business models. Apparently, they decided in 2007 to change it from a mail-in system to a subscription-based streaming service . Let’s take a look at how it has aided Netflix in earning money:

Users can stream Netflix content on one screen at a time on any device that supports the service for $8.99 with the Basic plan. Streams will also be in standard definition, which is the same quality, just as a clear broadcast TV show.

  • Standard Plan

Netflix is available up to two screens at once for $13.99 on the Standard plan, and it is in high-definition. This tier will be great for the majority of users, while they search for what is good on Netflix allowing them to avoid any kind of awkward moments while enjoying shows. 

  • Premium Plan

The $17.99 premium option is worth considering if audiences can have a strong enough internet connection. They would get access to 4K Ultra HD video as well as options to stream on up to four devices at once. First month of service is kept free at each tier, to determine suitable levels.  

Now folks… 

Let’s look at the numbers for each of those segments to see what the financial modus operandi is behind them and for the future what sort of strategies does Netflix pitch into?

2. Important partnerships

netflix revenue model

Netflix also collectively collaborates for partnerships deals with a variety of movie producers, writers, filmmakers, and animators in order to get and legally broadcast content. It also has collaborations with internet service providers, all of which contribute to its financial success.

Domestic streaming: Because it is based in the United States, this streaming plan is only available to US households, and the earnings are derived from monthly membership payments.

International streaming: Revenue from monthly membership fees for services that are entirely focused on streaming content to the subscribers outside of the United States.

Now let’s dive a bit into… 

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How much money does Netflix make?

Netflix’s revenue for the 12 months ended December 31, 2022, was $31.616 billion, a 6.46% increase from the previous year. 

Netflix’s annual revenue in 2022 increased by 6.46% from 2021 to $31.616 billion. Likewise, the streaming giant’s annual revenue for 2021 increased from 2020 by 18.81% to $29.698 billion.

Is Netflix profitable?

Yes, Netflix is tremendously profitable. It generated $4.5 billion in profits in 2022 alone. 

Netflix’s profit for 2021 stood at $5.116 billion in 2021. This is mainly accorded to the hike in viewership due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

You can check Netflix’s Y-o-Y revenue and profits here .

What does it cost to run Netflix?

Nonetheless, the key aspect of how does Netflix streaming works in making big money cannot be left unanswered in terms of disclosing the cost of income. There are many expenses which the company has to incur to grab those profits. Some of them are:

What does it cost to run Netflix?

1. Licencing Cost

Considering the factor of how does Netflix works, starts with the primary objective, licensing cost. Netflix has to pay a fee to license and acquire content in order to legally stream users’ favorite episodes and movies. The fee varies depending on the content.

2. Production Cost

In order to evade licensing cost factors, Netflix introduced its original streams in & 2013 has become one of the largest media spenders in the category as a result of its massive investment in the creation of new exclusive content.

3. Marketing Cost

Since we know that Netflix isn’t the alone content streaming platform found on the internet. Indeed, it has to compete with many newly established players. Advertising charges, payments to affiliates and device partners, and the first month’s fees of each new user are all examples of marketing costs.

4. Research And Development Cost

Netflix is a big believer in putting money into its R&D department. Thanks to this department, the company has progressed so far and continues to lead the market with its subscription-based business model .

5. Technology and development cost

Streaming delivery technology costs, fees associated with creating a video streaming app for new devices, and other infrastructure costs are all included in technology and development costs.

6. General and administrative cost

The costs will also occur in manpower as well as adjoined company investments, both in professional as well as collaborative costs that are associated with the administration department of the company. 

what is business model of netflix

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The impact of Netflix 

By all means, Netflix has had an impact on the globe in many broad ways. It was the first corporation to fully leverage the internet as a resourceful medium of providing every kind of OTT solution filled with its impeccable services. This allows them to effortlessly connect with their target market and learn about the audience’s thoughts and ideas.

The OTT business impact of Netflix 

The company capitalized on the current entertainment trend by infusing it with its brand. Their selling point pervasively boarded up as every single individual on the platform wishes to see every episode. Bon! They were able to quickly become acquainted with each & every subscriber. 

In that case, if you want to know how to make a video streaming website like Netflix , and serve it to be the go-to place for your viewers to watch their favorite shows at their own comfort zone, you can take this as the bright chance to set them all up.

Yes.. This is now very much possible for you to stream not only with an unlimited number of titles but also create an audience room for originally produced content & provide all kinds of watching perks. 

Concluding thoughts!

The most convenient and engaging form of entertainment is now easily available. All thanks to Netflix which introduced the power of white label OTT streaming services at consumers’ doorstep. Users who continue to use Netflix’s services are responsible for the company’s massive earnings. To put it another way, Netflix is the best online video platforms with a diverse selection of theatrical releases. Their global impact is enormous, with a focus on culture, lifestyle, and innovation. 

Netflix and its business tactics may teach corporates a lot. Despite the greatest catastrophic downfalls faced by the world, they remained committed to their investment. And definitely, that has a petrified effect on the market’s trade exchange and growth.

The most important takeaway we can take up from Netflix’s business cycle is that it is reliant on its market. It has an impact on how the company responds. Along with their own kind of invention and development, has greatly aided Netflix’s success.

Having said that, you can also try building one Netflix-like OTT app & become the topmost provider of binge-watching offered shows now to draw millions! Now that you know how Netflix makes its million payback you can drop us with your comments & share your ideas.

If You Already Have An Idea About Starting An OTT App like Netflix, Schedule A Free Demo And We’ll Help You Implement It!


Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Netflix is all about a video-on-demand service that lets members watch whatever they like such as TV episodes, movies, documentaries, and other content on a variety of Internet-enabled devices. The company also offers DVD rental options, in which it provides episodes and films on DVDs. When we learn about how Netflix makes money, we come to know about this extraordinary video-on-demand service that is built on a subscription-based concept, where users gain access with a monthly fee.

Rather than collecting income from a single title, Netflix started their business with the strategy that’s subscription-based. As a result, what we notice indicates that the content assets, both licensed and generated, are examined in aggregate at the operating segment level. This online streaming service has its own app and may be accessed from a variety of other connected devices.

Considering the cumulative growth of Netflix, a few figurative estimates right from 2019 to 2021 will let us know how they make money. In the year 2019, annual growth revenue is estimated at around $20.156B from 2018. Later in 2020, there seems to have a slight increase, gaining $24.996B from 2019. After that, service providers witnessed a sharp revenue rise of $29.698B in comparison to the preceding year.

Netflix, without a doubt, has a high-cost structure.  Predominantly, the firm had to invest heavily at the start of its present business model in order to achieve the type of video collection it wanted to provide its clients. So Netflix hasn’t always been able to swing high with money-making ventures. However, it does now. What surprises businesses imply that Netflix has managed to upkeep its profit zone of over a billion dollars in 2018, a 116 % increase over the previous year’s earnings.

In the upcoming weeks, Netflix has analyzed people having plentiful entertainment choices & which creates room for how well they can earn maximum revenue. They have planned to upscale money by offering new features that are flexible for subscribers in countries like Chile, Costa Rica, Peru. Two members added with sub-accounts for a monthly fees will be the key takeaway.

If you are also trying to launch a Netflix-like OTT app and establish yourself as the leading provider of binge-watching content to attract millions, you can get an independent streaming solution! Nothing less than having lifetime ownership with the white labeling feature from VPlayed could help you to scale up in the line of OTT. Other than that, perks like security protocols, marketing solutions, will potentialize further.

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Vijay Amirtham

Video Monetization & OTT Expert at CONTUS VPlayed. Interested in digging deep into video/audio streaming media tools, and Love to blog, discuss and share views on the legal OTT app development ' & latest technologies tips, and tricks. He's also passionate about photography loves to capture the pure essence of life.

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Netflix Business Model: How Netflix Makes Money

Most of us know Netflix as the online streaming company that makes money by selling a monthly subscription pack to its customers to access the content available on its platform. But that’s not how Netflix originally started. 

The Netflix of today looks nothing like the Netflix of day one. In its 24 years of existence, Netflix’s business model underwent four significant strategic shifts. In this piece, I will run you through all the four business model changes Netflix went through and explain Netflix’s current business model.

Why was Netflix started?

Before he started Netflix, Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, was just another customer of a company named Blockbuster. Blockbuster was a leading America-based movie and video game rental shop during those days. The story goes that the idea for Netflix occurred to Reed Hasting in 1997 after he was slapped with a $40 late fee for the Apollo 13 movie by Blockbuster.

In an interview with Forbes magazine in 2009 , Reed Hastings said,

“ I remember the fee because I was embarrassed about it. That was back in the VHS days, and it got me thinking that there’s a big market out there.

So I started to investigate the idea of how to create a movie-rental business by mail. I didn’t know about DVDs, and then a friend of mine told me they were coming.

I ran out to Tower Records in Santa Cruz, Calif., and mailed CDs to myself, just a disc in an envelope. It was a long 24 hours until the mail arrived back at my house, and I ripped them open and they were all in great shape. That was the big excitement point. “

Even though Netflix’s other co-founder March Randolph has gone on record to say that Reed’s version of the founding story isn’t accurate, Reed’s founding story is still helpful in understanding the general idea behind the company’s founding. The then incumbent Blockbuster operated on a retail shop pay-per-rental model.

Netflix launched in 1998 as an online movie rental service with the same traditional pay-per rental model. Netflix even charged the same late fees, which apparently, motivated Reed Hastings to get into the business, just like Blockbuster.

The only advantage Netflix had over BlockBuster at that time was better distribution. Instead of the customers going to a BlockBuster store to fetch a DVD, the DVD essentially came to them at their house. 

But the DVD mailing model had two major disadvantages:

  • While it eliminated the hassle of visiting a Blockbuster store for the customer, it took between one to four days for the DVDs to reach them, which was a win-lose scenario for the customer.
  • To break even on the cost of purchasing a DVD to rent, Netflix had to generate 15-20 rentals for each DVD. And even though people tried the service, the number of repeat rentals was low since people were inclined to rent out the latest releases. 

The company innovated its way out of both problems by adopting a subscription-based model back in 1998 when it wasn’t as ubiquitous as it has become today.

The Shift to a Subscription-Based Model

The subscription-based model acted as a forcing function for the customers to continue using Netflix’s DVD rental service, improving second-time movie rentals.

Netflix even implemented a queue , giving users a method to select which movies they would like to watch next to expedite the process of users receiving another DVD once they had returned their original one. 

This move enabled Netflix to drop late fees because the idea of getting another DVD in exchange for their current one acted as a motivation for the customers to return their DVDs to Netflix on time.

On the one hand, there was Blockbuster, which was still charging late fees, and on the other, there was Netflix, which had dropped it. Late fees contributed massively to Blockbuster’s revenue, and it wasn’t until 2004 that the company finally decided to let go of it.

To improve user engagement and utilize their DVD catalog efficiently, Netflix also developed a movie recommendation system named Cinematch. The system allowed Netflix to sell more movies that were not the latest releases, thereby uniformly distributing the sales of their DVD catalog. 

In 2002, Netflix went public at a share price of $15 and made a profit for the first time in the fiscal year 2003, reporting a revenue of $272 million & a $6.5 million profit . By 2005, the company was shipping 1 million DVDs every day.

Move to Online Streaming

Even though Netflix was at the pinnacle of its DVD rental business, the company planned to get into online streaming.

“We never spent one minute trying to save the DVD business,” said Ted Sarandos , Netflix’s chief content officer since 2000.  

They had only been waiting for broadband speed and streaming technology built into consumer devices to hit a critical mass before making a move. And when the timing was right, in 2007, the company launched its online streaming service in the United States with a collection of licensed movies and shows from Hollywood studios. 

While DVD sales fell from 2006 to 2011, Netflix’s business grew.

The company first began its international expansion in 2010 with its launch in Canada. Today, Netflix is available in over 190 countries, excluding China, North Korea, Russia, Crimea & Syria.

what is business model of netflix

  Note: The red territory represents the countries Netflix is present in, while the grey territory represents its absent territories.

Producing Original Content.

From 2007 to 2013, until Netflix’s next big strategic move, subscribers grew from around 7 million to 33 million.

Netflix Subscriber Growth from 2001 to Q12021

Seeing Netflix’s growth, Hollywood movies and series production houses started demanding more money for licensing their content, pushing Netflix to get into original content to secure their future.

In 2013, Ted Sorandos made another interesting comment regarding the shift in Netflix’s strategy.

He said, “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” 

From 2014 to July 2018, Netflix spent over $30 billion on original content.

Netflix’s spending on producing original content peaked in 2020.

Netflix Spending on Original Content Production from 2013 to 2021

Netflix Business Model

Netflix makes money from two different business segments. Its primary source of revenue is subscription-based streaming, which it offers under different pricing models basis the country. Secondarily, Netflix also generates revenue by selling DVDs. In 2021, Netflix earned $29.8 billion from streaming and $182 thousand from selling DVDs.

Netflix Segment Wise Revenue & Membership Growth from 2019 to 2021

As is evident from the segment-wise financial breakdown, the contribution of the DVD segment has been declining year-on-year as more people switch to streaming. Netflix has been running the DVD segment, despite minuscule revenue contribution from it because it does not want to upset DVD customers and wants the segment to die a natural death.

From 2020 to 2021, Netflix’s revenue increased by 19%. The increase in revenue was driven by a 11% growth in average paying memberships and a 7% increase in average monthly revenue per paying membership.

Netflix’s ability to increase its revenue is dependent on two different strategies — increase in subscribers and increase in the subscription cost. However, subscription costs can only be increased gradually and to a certain extent. So, the ability of Netflix to succeed is mainly dependent on growing its number of subscribers.

In terms of market-wise distribution, Netflix generates most of its streaming revenue from US & Canada, followed by Europe, the Middle East & Africa, followed by Latin America, followed by APAC.

US & Canada Streaming Revenue

Netflix US & Canada Revenue from 2019 to 2021

Europe, the Middle East & Africa Streaming Revenue

Netflix EMEA Revenue from 2019 to 2021

Latin America Streaming Revenue

Netflix LATAM Revenue from 2019 to 2021

APAC Streaming Revenue

Netflix APAC Revenue from 2019 to 2021

In the coming years, Netflix’s revenue growth can be expected to be higher in markets like APAC, Middle East & Africa.

Netflix is a profitable company. In 2020, Netflix generated $5.1 billion in net income, up from the $2.7 billion it made in 2019.

Netflix Net Income from 2000 to 2021

However, the company has negative cash flows due to its massive spending on buying content licenses and producing original content.

How much more room for growth does Netflix have?

As of 2021, Netflix was present in over 200 million-plus households worldwide.

To put the numbers into context, there were 1.7 billion households with TV in 2019 alone , which is expected to grow even more in the coming years.

Even if we were to exclude the TV households of the countries Netflix is absent, the company is yet to capture a huge portion of the total addressable market.

But the streaming landscape continues to get fiercely competitive day by day with players like Disney & Apple launching their own streaming services, to add to Netflix’s more obvious and older competitors like Amazon Video, Hulu, HBO, and YouTube.

Netflix’s subscribers growth also has been decreasing, so only time will tell if the company can compete with upstarts successfully, or else it might end up getting acquired by a biggie.

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Netflix Business Model 2021: Is Netflix's business model sustainable?

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Indeed no one is unfamiliar with Netflix - the US video streaming platform. Starting as a DVD rental provider, Netflix now, with global coverage, has more subscribers than all other streaming services combined.

Behind that success is the change in the business model of Netflix. This article will help you partially explain and understand more about this amazing growth.

An introduction to Netflix

Netflix, Inc. has become one of the most successful entertainment companies of all time. Netflix, Inc. was originally established in 1998 by providing services to customers by sending physical copies of movies, programs, video games, and other communication forms through a standard emailing system.

Through rapid changes in technology, Netflix shifted its business model and grew exponentially. They have gone from physical releases to letting customers stream their favorite content anywhere and anytime.

Today, the platform has evolved streaming technologies that have enhanced and improved Netflix’s overall business structure and revenue. This platform provides viewers with the ability to stream and watch a various TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more, through means of using a software application.

Since Netflix changed its proposition to streaming, it has become the world’s seventh-largest internet company by revenue on a global scale. The following is an overview covering the specifications of Netflix’s business canvas model and its core operations.

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Quick facts & statistics about Netflix

Netflix facts

  • The company started renting out DVD’s by mail in 1998.
  • Netflix reached 4 million subscribers in 2005.
  • In 2007, Netflix launched online video streaming.
  • Netflix appeared on the PS3 and smart TVs in 2009
  • In 2013, Netflix released its first three original series, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange is the New Black.
  • As of 2016, Netflix was available worldwide except for a select few countries.
  • In 2017, Netflix won its first Oscar for The White Helmets won in the Best Documentary Short Subject category.
  • In 2018, Netflix officially beat HBO’s 17-year-long run in Emmy nominations.
  • The revenue of Netflix in 2019 exceeded over $20B.
  • In the second quarter of 2020, Netflix gained total revenue of over 6.14 billion U.S. dollars, increasing over 13% in the corresponding quarter of 2019, promising another successful year for Netflix.

The business model of Netflix: From renting DVDs to a subscription model

Netflix’s initial business model.

Netflix’s first operating model was to let customers rent a video by selecting it online, then shipping it directly to their address by post. And in 1998, Netflix started renting out DVDs.

In the US, the company offers a flat monthly fee for DVD rental services. A subscriber creates a list to rent movies. Films are distributed exclusively through the US Postal Service from regional repositories. Subscribers can keep rented discs as long as they want, but there is a limit to the number of discs each subscriber can have simultaneously. To rent a new disc, the enrollee must return the previous disc through a replying envelope. When received, Netflix sends the next available disc in the subscriber’s rental list.

From renting DVDs to a subscription model

A year later, Netflix switched from renting DVDs to online subscriptions and paid monthly. This move has created a lot of convenience for customers, completely reduced fees incurred, and streamlined management and operation of the business.

Since launching the monthly subscription model in 1999, Netflix has reached 239,000 subscribers in its first year and quickly hit 1 million subscribers in 2003. Netflix currently generates about $ 15 billion annually, with 125 million paid members from more than 190 countries.

The exponential growth of Netflix can be attributed to these key trends:

  • Technology : available in many platforms, websites, TV app, mobile app.
  • Comfort : being able to watch their favorite shows at their most convenience
  • Subscription : simple structure and low monthly cost;
  • Data-driven : used for creating recommendations fitting personal preferences.

How does Netflix business model work?

Netflix has three simple types of subscriptions:

Netflix subscriptions

  • Basic package with a fee is 7,99 €/month, cannot watch HD quality, cannot watch multiple devices at the same time.
  • Standard package with a fee is 11,99 € month, watching HD quality, and watching two devices at the same time.
  • Premium package with a fee of 15,99 €/month, watching HD and Ultra HD quality, can be viewed on 4 devices at the same time.

With these 3 kinds of subscriptions, you can get access to all types of TV shows and movies worldwide.

In addition, Netflix has 3 business segments :

  • International streaming : revenues from monthly membership fees for services related to streaming content to members outside the U.S in 190 countries.
  • Domestic streaming : revenues from monthly membership fees for services related to streaming contents to members in the U.S
  • Domestic DVD : revenues from monthly membership fees for services consisting solely of DVD-by-mail.

Netflix total revenue

Netflix’s Total Revenue has increased 78% from $8.8 billion in 2016 to $15.8 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow around 50% to $23.2 billion in just 2 years.

Netflix total revenue

Revenue growth of about $9.2 billion over two years to be driven by contribution of about $6.5 billion from the (1) International Streaming segment, and about $2.9 billion from the (2) Domestic streaming segment, partially offset by lower DVD revenues.

(A) Revenue from International Streaming to increase over 50% (about $6.4 billion) in the next two years

Netflix International Streaming

Netflix continues to attract more and more international subscribers, though there is growth in monthly fees.

It seems that there is a comparatively faster rate of growth in subscribers in 2020 and slower growth in 2021 since the appearance of Apple’s and Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming offerings could attend the market.

  • International Streaming revenue tripled from about $3 billion in 2016 to $10.6 billion in 2019, resulting from an increase in memberships.
  • It is expected that revenue may grow by 60% in the next two years, to $17.1 billion by 2021, driven by its original content creation, which definitely adds more subscribers, despite growing competition.

(B) Revenue from Domestic Streaming to increase about $2.8 billion in the next two years

Netflix Domestic Streaming

The company added more than 15 million subscribers between 2016 and 2019. The number of subscribers is expected to increase sharply in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 and then start to decrease slowly in 2021 due to change in pricing and more of competitors.

  • Domestic Streaming revenues increased from $5 billion in 2016 to about $9 billion in 2019, driven by growth in memberships.
  • Revenue is expected to grow by more than 30% to about $12 billion in 2021, due to increasing fees/subscribers. For instance, Netflix raised its prices in the U.S. and some Latin American countries at the beginning of fiscal 2019. The Standard plan (two HD streams) increased from $10.99 to $12.99 per month; the Premium plan (up to four Ultra HD streams) increased from $13.99 to $15.99 per month; and the Basic plan (with a single non-HD stream) increased for the first time, from $7.99 to $8.99 per month.
  • Domestic Streaming sales may contribute a decline to total revenue from 46% in 2019 to about 42% in 2021.

Is Netflix profitable?

Netflix Net Income

Netflix has been performing well, with its net profits growing 6x from around $0.3 billion in 2014 to $1.9 billion in 2019. Besides, It has been burning cash, with free cash flows dropping from -$0.1 billion in 2014 to -$3.3 billion in 2019.

The difference between these two statistics can be explained by how Netflix accounts for its content investments, expensing only a portion of its content each year on its income statement. Netflix’s spending on content is growing fast, increasing from about $9 billion in 2017 to $14.5 billion in 2019. The amortization of content has been lower, growing from about $6 billion to $9 billion over the same period. According to Netflix, about 90% of a show’s value is expended within four years of its debut.

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In 2000, Blockbuster was offered to buy Netflix and all of its assets for just $ 50 million. Today, Netflix is worth $155 billion in market capitalization. Through powerful tech tactics and accessibility innovation, Netflixed has been successful in increasing the customer experience positively and becoming one of the biggest Internet companies.

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