Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs

( 30 )

Overview

The history of Netflix is a long struggle for greatness marked by multiple disasters, lucky breaks, personal betrayal, and broken hearts. It has more drama than most of the movies Netflix rents.
 
Netflix has come a long way since 1997, when two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Marc Ran­dolph and Reed Hastings, decided to start an online DVD store before most people owned a DVD player. They were surprised and elated when launch-day traffic in...

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Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs

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Overview

The history of Netflix is a long struggle for greatness marked by multiple disasters, lucky breaks, personal betrayal, and broken hearts. It has more drama than most of the movies Netflix rents.
 
Netflix has come a long way since 1997, when two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Marc Ran­dolph and Reed Hastings, decided to start an online DVD store before most people owned a DVD player. They were surprised and elated when launch-day traffic in April 1998 crashed their server and resulted in 150 sales. Today, Netflix has more than 25 million subscribers and annual revenues above $3 billion. Yet long- term success—or even survival—is still far from guaranteed.
 
Journalist Gina Keating recounts the absorbing, fast-paced drama of the company’s turbulent rise to the top and its attempt to invent two new kinds of business. First it engaged in a grueling war against video-store behemoth Blockbuster, transforming movie rental forever. Then it jumped into an even bigger battle for online video streaming against Google, Hulu, Amazon, and the big cable companies. Netflix ushered in such innovations as DVD rental by mail, a patented online queue of upcom­ing rentals, and a recommendation algorithm called Cinematch that proved crucial in its struggle against bigger rivals.
 
Yet for all its success, Netflix is still a polariz­ing company. Hastings is often heralded as a visionary—he was named Business Person of the Year in 2010 by Fortune—even as he has been called the nation’s worst CEO. Netflix also faces disgruntled customers after price increases and other stumbles that could tarnish the brand forever.
 
The quest to become the world’s portal for pre­mium video on demand will determine nothing less than the future of entertainment and the Internet. Drawing on extensive new interviews and her years covering Netflix as a financial and entertainment reporter, Keating makes this tale as absorbing as it is important.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There's a grim reality behind the magical wafting of DVDs to our mailboxes, according to this lively, canny business potboiler. Freelance journalist Keating tries to style the saga of online movie-rental behemoth Netflix as a Silicon Valley romance wherein subversive geeks conjure "a shared dream of a consumer-oriented company that reflected their ideals," one where "marketing and technology waltz in a harmony." But that conceit fizzles when Reed Hastings, a cyborg with a head full of optimization algorithms but no "empathy gene," takes over as CEO and institutes "an uncomfortable level of process and formality that withered the little company's spontaneous creativity." His corporate despotism works out well, since renting movies online, Keating demonstrates, is just dog-eat-dog commodity retailing that hinges on ruthless cost-cutting and efficiency, careful orchestration of price points with advertising and promotions, and tricks like a recommendation engine that considerately steers customers towards more profitable merchandise. The colorful narrative climaxes with Netflix and archrival Blockbuster throttling each other in an old-fashioned price war that Netflix wins by a hair. Keating hypes the allegedly world-shaking technological transformations in how we access digital content, but what's far more interesting and dramatic is her smart portrait of how an ever-changing capitalism stays very much the same. (Oct. 11)
Kirkus Reviews
Chronicle of the multibillion-dollar bout between Netflix and former heavyweight home-video champ Blockbuster. Veteran media journalist Keating's nonfiction debut is a surprisingly swift-paced mix of investigative journalism and thrillerlike suspense. The major players in the game--Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Blockbuster's John Antioco--are both complicated characters, and Keating does a commendable job painting a portrait of these very different business leaders, each with his own unique approach to vying for the same brass ring: domination of the American home-entertainment market. Hastings' management style was coldly calculating, emphasizing the importance of algorithms to the issue of customer service. On the other hand, Blockbuster's business model was almost Luddite in comparison, as they were convinced that traditional face-to-face transactions with customers would never go out of style. Keating covers the period from Netflix's inception in 1997, through its lean years in the early 2000s, to its dramatic rise to prominence in the mid-2000s, and its near-downfall in 2010. Dutifully following the strands of Blockbuster's ignominious decline, Keating also portrays Netflix as being in danger of succumbing to the same monopolistic arrogance as Blockbuster once did. This leaves them open to new business models popping up on the scene, such as the upstart DVD vending-machine service Redbox. Keating does an expert job at taking dry facts and stuffy Silicon Valley CEO types and arranging them all into a propulsive and satisfying narrative. An impressive look at the infinite complexities and cutthroat competition driving the deceptively simple business of 21st-century movie delivery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591846598
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 266,735
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gina Keating covered media com­panies, law, and government as a staff writer for Reuters and United Press Interna­tional for more than a decade. Her articles have been reprinted in newspapers around the world, and her freelance work has appeared in Variety, Texas Monthly, Food and Wine, Southern Living, and Forbes. She lives in Los Angeles. This is her first book.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 A Shot in the Dark (1997-1998) 11

Chapter 2 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1998-1999) 34

Chapter 3 The Gold Rush (1999-2000) 50

Chapter 4 War of the Worlds (2001-2003) 68

Chapter 5 The Professional (2003-2004) 86

Chapter 6 Some Like it Hot (2004-2005) 101

Chapter 7 Wall Street (2004-2005) 110

Chapter 8 Kick Ass (2004-2005) 125

Chapter 9 The Best Years of Our Lives (2005-2006) 151

Chapter 10 The Empire Strikes Back (2006-2007) 165

Chapter 11 The Incredibles (2006-2009) 185

Chapter 12 High Noon (2007-2008) 198

Chapter 13 The Great Escape (2007-2009) 213

Chapter 14 True Grit (2009-2010) 230

Chapter 15 Cinema Paradiso 246

Epilogue 255

Acknowledgments 259

A Note on Sources 262

Bibliography 265

Index 277

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2012

    What?!?

    I WWAANTED NETFLIX!!!

    24 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    -A

    I want netflix not a stupid book

    20 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013

    :(

    I had the netflix app and suddenly it stopped working. Then i looked up netflix on the shop and turns out they took netflix off the nook. I cannot belive that barns and nobles would take away the best way to watch movies and tv shows ever! If they want to satisfy their customers then they should atleast try to give the customers what they want, and stop charging so much for just one little app. Be more like apple. Most of their apps are FREE! Please just give the apps that are recommened and GARENTEED to make people happy and excited to use their nook.

    -This is Leah signing off :)

    16 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Um.....

    Is it good?

    11 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    ?

    Is it 3D???

    11 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    Ha

    The guy who posted the first comment is a zipperhead

    10 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    Cool

    I never knew it was on the niok too

    8 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Nexbook

    Who would want this stuipid book.It may be nexflix but it shour stinks.But don't take my apinyon chouse your oune way of life.for my apinyon I HATE IT!

    6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Give it back

    I want netflix back! Why did you ( BN ) take netflix away. My netflix has stoped working. I not happy!!!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    So what?

    Is there netflix on nook? Cuz dis aint it

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    There is netflix

    There is a netflix app on the nook tablet it comes with all the other apps u start with, but it stopped working. I hope this was helpful!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Whatever

    That guy who posted is it for watching or reading its a book you take a guess.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Danyel.moses

    I have netflixand it is awsome and dumb at the same time because it doesnt update the adult show but it updates the kiddie show

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    Ndj

    Jdjfjdjdndn STUPID dhehsifjwhddu

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Really Really.it souds lame

    This must really suck!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    H

    First guy that commented is a noob

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Ok wait a sec

    Isit for warching or readin

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Accident

    im on my nook color and when i look up netflix (cus i deleted mine cus it wouldnt load any of my shows) i went to click apps and my thumb hit buy and confirm on accident and now im pissed idk wat this is about, idk how much it even costed, i think 2.99? but it was an accident!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    ?

    Is this book good or horrible ? Should I buy it or not?

    PLEASE HELP!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    EVERYONE

    This is not Netflix, this is a book of the history of Netflix. READ.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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