Why Netflix’s Content Strategy is Failing (And How You Can Do Better)

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It’s been a wild two decades, but the king of content is finally starting to lose its crown.

The slow crash and burn of Netflix’s shares and their severely lacking debt-to-profit ratio does more than just hint that their content strategy is slowly circling the bowl. In fact, some analysts estimate that the streaming giant has only months to survive after the upcoming launch of Disney+ on November 12, 2019. As we know, the right content marketing strategy can work wonders. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that something is very clearly not working here.

Let’s take a minute to look at where it all went wrong.

The Problem

As of 2018, Netflix spent thirteen billion dollars on new content (that’s a thousand millions). This equates to roughly 85% of their total profit income flipped right back around into original content creation. Sounds like a plan for success, right?

It certainly would be, if anybody was interested in watching it in the first place. Netflix’s increased spending is not matching its falling subscriber numbers, a loss rate not seen since 2011. With the bulk of subscribers coming from oversea countries like India and China, the company is struggling to make ends meet. More than half of the 125 million subscribers are not based in the United States, which due to dollar conversion rates has driven the membership costs steadily upwards. Cheaper streaming alternatives within these eastern growth countries far outperform Netflix in both revenue and volume, creating an unsustainably risky balance-beam bottom line.

With the rise of competitor streaming platforms from Sony and Disney, Netflix is in a real bind. In order to run a viable company with a powerful content strategy (that’s you), something’s gotta change.

State of Marketing Report 2024

What NOT To Do

They say you learn by example, but do your best to un-learn from Netflix’s most glaring content strategy failures.

  • Lack of AB Testing: What do people really want to watch? Not what they’re making! It’s been no secret that many people assume most of Netflix’s originals to be cheap, bad, or just plain not interesting. By not testing different concepts before sinking their funds, Netflix has put itself into a bit of a hole.
  • Get Stuck on Un-Owned Content: If their original pieces aren’t making any waves, what’s really driving subscribers to login every day? Blockbuster films made by massive corporations like Disney and Fox are spearheading the charge, but not for much longer. Netflix’s top ten most watched shows is lead by The Office, a licensed program from a competitor’s studio. In fact, three of the top four most watched shows will be removed from Netflix and released under a different platform in a few months. Bad news.

If you want to be an industry leader, you need to be an authority in your area of expertise. The bottom line? Test your theories. Have a professional create your content, not just your internal system. Stop letting other competitor’s companies walk all over you.

What You SHOULD Do

If you’re not listening, you’re not growing. Your content strategy is the perfect way to show the market your stuff. So how should you do it?

  • Know Your Market: The binge-then-die nature of modern TV means that content will have a surprisingly short self life before fading into obscurity. Although your business’ target market may be different, that doesn’t mean that the principles aren’t very similar. What do they like? What do they not? Test one variable at a time to measure results. The more specifically you can whittle down your audience, the better!
  • Learn From Your Mistakes: Failure isn’t fatal! Content strategy is all about learning what works and what doesn’t work. Netflix borrowing billions of dollars? Not going to work. To survive, Netflix should glean what it can from its previous pitfalls and optimize a winning content strategy that maintains their twenty-year reign as king.

Netflix may still be king for now, but a good content strategy will always be its crown.

Ready to Revamp?

Content strategy is hard, and building one that lasts is even harder.

The WriterAccess Market Strategy Master Class guide has everything you need to start revolutionizing your content strategy by guiding you through the holistic art and science of crossing technology with design to incubate success.

Want more info? Chat us up today, and we’ll help you get started.


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Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

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Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

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