May 14

How Do You Out-Netflix Netflix? (A Short Tale of Two Companies)

You know you’ve made it when your brand name becomes synonymous with your actual product type. When you sneeze, you grab a Kleenex. Do you need to find something on the internet? Just Google it. And sometimes… you just want to Netflix and chill.

All of those brands are at the pinnacle of their industries. But nobody seems to be nipping on the heels of Kleenex and Google. Netflix, on the other hand, has some real threats. It’s always competing with the likes of Hulu and Amazon Prime. But with such few legitimate streaming options really offered in the past decade, there was room for all of those platforms. But Netflix had the biggest piece of the pie at over 50%.

At this point two years ago, though, there were two looming threats for Netflix: Quibi and Disney+. One of them has already failed, while the other seems to be Netflix’s biggest threat ever.

Quibi: Short form content for today’s mobile-first consumers

Early last year, Quibi was seen as a real contender to be a thorn in Netflix’s side. It focused on original content, but specifically content that would be made to be consumed in small bites (10 minutes or less) on mobile devices. No standard 30-60 minute shows. And (at first), you couldn’t even watch it on a regular television. It wasn’t mobile-first, it was mobile-only.

Disney+: Iconic content you can’t not have

A few months before Quibi, Disney+ launched — but with a strategy that relied less on changes in consumption patterns and more on an age-old mantra: content is king. If you want to stream any of Disney’s iconic catalog of titles — which includes Disney classics, Pixar hits, or Star Wars, Marvel, and more… you’ll need to subscribe to Disney+. Of course, there’d be original content, too — and it would be available on whatever device you have, whether it’s in your pocket or living room.

Fast Forward to Today

Today, Netflix is doing just fine. Its revenue increased by nearly $1.5 billion over the past 12 months. But here’s the thing — it is losing market share. Fast. And the big beneficiary is Disney+, which by 2022 may even come even with Netflix in terms of market share. And Quibi, of course, fizzled out fast.

But why? Was it really all about content? Did Quibi make some epic mistakes along the way? 

Next week, we’ll dig deeper.

Mike Belsito

About the author

Mike Belsito is a startup product and business developer who loves creating something from nothing. Mike is the Co-Founder of Product Collective which organizes INDUSTRY, one of the largest product management summits anywhere in the world. For his leadership at Product Collective, Mike was named one of the Top 40 influencers in the field of Product Management. Mike also serves as a Faculty member of Case Western Reserve University in the department of Design and Innovation, and is Co-Host of one of the top startup podcasts online, Rocketship.FM. Prior to Product Collective, Mike spent the past 12 years in startup companies as an early employee, Co-Founder, and Executive. Mike's businesses and products have been featured in national media outlets such as the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, NPR, and elsewhere. Mike is also the Author of Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of us, one of the top startup books on Amazon.


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