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Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs
     

Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs

2.4 36
by Gina Keating
 

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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

Overview

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.

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)
From the Publisher
“The little red envelope that could . . . and did! This is a classic Silicon Valley start-up tale and Keating gives readers behind-the-scenes access to a story that continues to play out in America’s mailboxes, living rooms, and mobile devices every day.”

—JIM COOK, CFO of Mozilla; Netflix founding team member

“A well-crafted, well-researched, and well-sourced page-turner. Keating is no stranger to this subject, having covered Netflix for years as a reporter, and gives readers a fascinating and insightful look into the inner workings of a company that forever changed how America watches movies.”

—LORI STREIFLER, executive editor, City News Service Inc.

“Even if all you know about Netflix is that it has bright red mailers and comes out of your Roku box, Keating’s reporting will make you want to sit down and learn more. It’s a tale of corporate intrigue, gigantic success, and enormous failure.”

—ALLAN PARACHINI, adjunct professor, California State University; former Los Angeles Times reporter

Netflixed has all the drama and intrigue of a Hollywood blockbuster, but for me, it was also nostalgic. Gina Keating perfectly captured the pressure, energy, and emo­tion we all felt as we fought Netflix for control of America’s living rooms. I’m often asked by people, ‘What happened at Blockbuster?’ Now I can tell them . . . just read Netflixed.”

—BEN COOPER, EVP, Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media; former head of marketing, Blockbuster Online

“…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 …An impressive look at the infinite complexities and cutthroat competition driving the deceptively simple business of 21st-century movie delivery.

Kirkus Reviews

“There's a grim reality behind the magical wafting of DVDs to our mailboxes, according to this lively, canny business potboiler…[This] 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.”

Publishers Weekly

“Keating separates fact from legend in this story of how the tiny upstart, Netflix, took on and ultimately decimated the goliaths of the industry, Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video… It seems that only Apple Computer rivals Netflix in how its customers hold a deep personal attachment to the brand “experience,” and fans of the service will get a lot of insight into how much risk, dedication, and commitment it took to bring that experience into being.”

—DAVID SIEGFRIED, Booklist

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101601433
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/11/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
334,638
File size:
693 KB

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“The little red envelope that could . . . and did! This is a classic Silicon Valley start-up tale and Keating gives readers behind-the-scenes access to a story that continues to play out in America’s mailboxes, living rooms, and mobile devices every day.”
—JIM COOK, CFO of Mozilla; Netflix founding team member
 
“A well-crafted, well-researched, and well-sourced page-turner. Keating is no stranger to this subject, having covered Netflix for years as a reporter, and gives readers a fascinating and insightful look into the inner workings of a company that forever changed how America watches movies.”
—LORI STREIFLER, executive editor, City News Service Inc.
 
“Even if all you know about Netflix is that it has bright red mailers and comes out of your Roku box, Keating’s reporting will make you want to sit down and learn more. It’s a tale of corporate intrigue, gigantic success, and enormous failure.”
—ALLAN PARACHINI, adjunct professor, California State University; former Los Angeles Times reporter
 
Netflixed has all the drama and intrigue of a Hollywood blockbuster, but for me, it was also nostalgic. Gina Keating perfectly captured the pressure, energy, and emo­tion we all felt as we fought Netflix for control of America’s living rooms. I’m often asked by people, ‘What happened at Blockbuster?’ Now I can tell them . . . just read Netflixed.”
—BEN COOPER, EVP, Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media; former head of marketing, Blockbuster Online

“…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 …An impressive look at the infinite complexities and cutthroat competition driving the deceptively simple business of 21st-century movie delivery. Kirkus Reviews

“There's a grim reality behind the magical wafting of DVDs to our mailboxes, according to this lively, canny business potboiler…[This] 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.”
Publishers Weekly

“Keating separates fact from legend in this story of how the tiny upstart, Netflix, took on and ultimately decimated the goliaths of the industry, Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video… It seems that only Apple Computer rivals Netflix in how its customers hold a deep personal attachment to the brand “experience,” and fans of the service will get a lot of insight into how much risk, dedication, and commitment it took to bring that experience into being.” —DAVID SIEGFRIED, Booklist

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 magazines.

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Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs 2.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want netflix not a stupid book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not Netflix, this is a book of the history of Netflix. READ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want netflix back! Why did you ( BN ) take netflix away. My netflix has stoped working. I not happy!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slowwwww moving book. Reading this put me to sleep. Just google how this firm started. No need to buy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Isit for warching or readin
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So discouraged reading other reviews of this. This is not the Netflix app. This is a book about Netflix's origins and business history. The complete lack of understanding by so many who reviewed this is shocking. I honestly feel terrible for the author, to have their hard work and effort so disrespected. If you're the least bit interested in learning the backstory of Netflix, I recommend this. Very informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS IS A BOOK DONT GET IT!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the_protagonist1 More than 1 year ago
This is a book that documents the ups and down of starting netflix and shows how they ended up to be the company it is today. If liked the movie A SOCIAL NETWORK, pr the book it was based off of, you will like this book. This is not a boring read, yet it is not for everyone. It is a shame this book has a low rating just because people think it is a Netflix app. Review written by Curt Wiser, Author of the suspense novel Box Cutter Killer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First guy that commented is a noob
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HORRIBLE!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WHY DID THEY TAKE NETFLIX OFF THE NOOK??????!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It works great for my nook family loves it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That guy who posted is it for watching or reading its a book you take a guess.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This must really suck!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dude below me is a f****** genius
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!