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NetFlix: Get Online Movies with NetFlix, Part 3

Updated on March 15, 2011

NetFlix: Get Online Movies with NetFlix, Part 3

Part 2 of our NetFlix compendium ended with the introduction of Online Movies. Unfortunately, Internet transmission speeds limited the viewing window to a tiny fraction of total screen size. Families were brought closer together as they huddled around their computer monitors, but NetFlix was still limited by technological barriers.

A new approach was obviously necessary. NetFlix was being savaged by savvy Internet bloggers. The solution originated in the most unlikely of places; the company mailroom. An intern observed that the same delivery service that was bringing huge volumes of collection notices to the NetFlix corporation could be leveraged to deliver movies to NetFlix customers. To be fair, interns don't use the word 'leverage' in common speech. To be even more fair, the intern's suggestion was overheard by a top-level executive who was leaving the building to play golf. The top-level exec added the word 'leverage', but conveniently forgot to credit the intern. To be fairest of all, the intern started a company that provided NetFlix with millions of prepaid mailing envelopes and the top-level executive resigned to sell Amway, so everything worked out in the end.

NetFlix built an industry-standard model of on-demand fulfillment. Millions of mediocre movies were delivered through the United States Postal Service to customers hungry for entertainment. No longer would movie buffs have to wait for the top of the hour for a film to begin. No longer would the popcorn be ready before the opening credits rolled. Each movie arrived within days of being ordered online. As long as the customer had a DVD player, a popcorn maker, and an easy chair, all was well.

A Microwave Society Conspires Against NetFlix

The NetFlix web site hummed with excitement. Customers purchased subscription packages, ordered movies, and consumed huge volumes of popcorn; all from the comfort of their living rooms. Prepaid mailing envelopes permitted folks to conveniently return DVDs after sharing them with friends and neighbors. Life was good.

One massive problem loomed on the NetFlix horizon. Customers soon realized that ordering online required them to wait at least one day before receiving their movies. The challenge of anticipating what movie they would want to watch 24 hours in advance proved insurmountable for many patrons. Sure; today might be a great day for a western, but tomorrow they might want to see something explode. It became virtually impossible to be sure if the weekend was appropriate for the wooden acting of action hero Chuck Norris or the wooden acting of action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme. Families descended into chaos. Brother turned against brother. Second cousin twice-removed turned against step-sister. Nobody was getting along.

The Internet Comes to the Rescue

With customers in chaos, NetFlix executives realized that another delivery model was necessary if the company had any hopes of long term survival. None of the executives had any interest in leaving the company to sell Amway. They held interminable high-level meetings to brainstorm for potential solutions. They huddled around hand-rubbed cherrywood boardroom tables. They watched reruns of Wall Street, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Secret of My Success on HBO.

Once again, the solution came from an unexpected source; an electronics store. A high-level NetFlix executive purchased a new home computer at Best Buy. He became enraged upon learning that the machine did not include a modem. How would he 'go online' to download his email? How would he connect to other high-level executives in chat rooms? A Best-Buy intern patiently explained that modems represented outdated technology. He demonstrated broadband transmission speeds to the befuddled executive. It was a pivotal moment for NetFlix. The executive suddenly realized that customers would be able to order movies much faster. The intern patiently explained that instead of delivering movies through the mail, people could actually watch them online. The executive carefully repackaged the intern's explanation to use the word 'leverage', and NetFlix moved on to a new phase of corporate success.

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    • FCEtier profile image

      Chip 7 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Wife and I LOVE NetFlix! the DVD's and the streaming.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Netflix is at the "cusp" of changing business model. TV as we know it will soon become a "buggy whip." Assuming they can get the "product," they will change the entire landscape of "TV" entertainment to "on-demand," anytime, anywhere... Great hub!

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