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商业 - 科技

为什么消费者肯原谅Netflix?

凭借《纸牌屋》的成功,Netflix名利双收。但就在三年前,它曾因涨价和取消DVD邮寄触犯众怒,导致80万用户逃离。Netflix的故事给我们提供了一个绝佳的案例:一家犯过错的公司如何迅速认错,求得市场原谅,然后一飞冲天。

    在线视频流媒体服务商Netflix 最近报告称,上个季度公司利润增加了一倍多。这不仅证实这家公司已经一举扭转颓势,而且也为整个高科技产业揭示了一个深刻的道理:当一家公司建立并主导一个巨大的新市场时,消费者希望它成功,愿意团结在它周围,即使这家公司有搞砸的时候。

    就在三年前,Netflix犯了一个值得铭记的错:该公司试图从流媒体中剥离DVD出租业务,并开始涨价。但到那时为止,Netflix已经围绕流媒体电影构建了一个强大的全新市场类别和生态系统——一种前所未有的娱乐产品分发形式。

    接下来发生的是一个宽恕和救赎的故事;或者说是一个爱情故事,主角就是那些享受由Netflix主宰的全新服务的消费者们。

    在上世纪90年代末,Netflix刚创立时一如所有传奇科技创业公司那样,它携引人注目的新技术和全新商业模式横空出世,在市场上引起了一轮风暴。它使用网络作为连接客户的渠道,挑战实体店,把视频租赁转化为一种按月缴费的服务。无需滞纳金。结果,Netflix以一种与众不同的媒体消费形式改变了顾客感知价值的方式。这种新颖的战略开创了DVD订阅新市场。而以这个简单而强大的创意,Netflix击溃了DVD租赁市场霸主百视达公司(Blockbuster Video)。

    仅仅几年后,情况就发生了鲜明的逆转。2011年,Netflix提高服务价格,并宣布将取消DVD邮寄业务,此举引发消费者强烈反弹,多达80万用户相继逃离,Netflix的股价应声暴跌。

    随后发生了一件颇具传奇色彩的事情。CEO黑斯廷斯公开表示,“这事我搞砸了,”还说,“事后看来,过去的成功滋长了我的傲慢自大。”如此坦白的认错确实令人震惊。尤其是当你考虑到首席执行官们很容易堕落为“首席自负官(Chief Ego Officer) ”。黑斯廷斯没有自我膨胀。他悉心聆听,并迅速采取行动。Netflix修正了它的定价策略。

    跌倒时,Netflix非常精明地请求市场宽恕。消费者也希望它能重整旗鼓。这个市场早已对Netflix产生了依赖心理。

    更妙的是,一旦获得原谅,Netflix立即奖励消费者——通过创新,以及进一步改善服务。

    凭借自身掌握的客户观看视频内容、时间、地点和方式的大数据,Netflix开始制作自己的内容。它下了一个非常大胆的赌注:专为互联网流媒体打造的专有娱乐内容将进一步提升公司收入,扩大市场份额。这一招果然奏效!就这样,Netflix趁着数字竞争对手苹果公司(Apple)和亚马逊(Amazon)打盹的工夫,一举粉碎了旧的内容商业范式。至少目前是这样。

    所有这一切都出自另一个简单而强大的想法——让人们能够在任何时间、任何设备上,以他们期许的方式消费精彩好看的娱乐内容。奥斯卡奖得主,剧集《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)联合出品人凯文•史派西去年就这一话题发表了一场震动媒体世界的演讲。

    2013年,Netflix公司凭借剧集《纸牌屋》,成为首家赢得艾美奖(Emmy)的非电视网络机构。本季度的业绩在某种程度上受益于《女子监狱》(Orange is the New Black)和《纸牌屋》第二季的成功热播。这两部备受期待,广受好评的剧集共获得31项艾美奖提名。

    现在,Netflix正处在一个临界点上,往前一步就能成就伟大。当这家公司正在跟来自好莱坞、亚马逊的威胁针锋相对,努力解决互联网分销问题的时候,一个疑问是,它能否成为一家起决定性作用的数字媒体公司?

    Netflix公司正在筹谋主宰未来的媒体格局。现在,他们将不得不拿出更多的勇气,采用能够让消费者满意,让竞争对手知难而退的方式来创造、分发内容并实现货币化,同时还要采取强硬手段保住目前领先的网络分销渠道地位。所有这一切需同时进行,这是一个艰巨的任务。这家公司与亚马逊的战争很可能会不断升级。来自苹果和其他对手的压力也将日益加大。现在的问题是,Netflix是继续创新,还是再次滋生傲慢情绪,枕着那些艾美奖杯睡大觉?时间会告诉我们答案,但我们不会赌Netflix将输掉这场战争。(财富中文网)

    本文作者戴夫•彼得森、艾尔•拉马丹和克里斯托弗•罗克海德是Play Bigger Advisors公司联合创始人。这家总部位于旧金山的咨询机构致力于指导科技公司高管如何打造市场领先的公司。

    译者:叶寒

    Online video streaming service Netflix recently reported that profits more than doubled during the last quarter. This not only says a lot about how the company managed to turn itself around, it also reveals a profound truth about the overall tech industry: When a company builds and dominates a big new market, customers want it to succeed and will rally behind it even when it screws up.

    Just three years ago, Netflix monumentally muffed up when it tried to split off DVD rentals from streaming and raise prices. But by then, Netflix had created a strong new market category and ecosystem around streaming movies – a new form of entertainment delivery that had never existed before.

    What happened next is a story of forgiveness and redemption; a love story between the customers of a whole new service that Netflix dominated.

    In the late ‘90s, the company did what legendary tech startups do. It stormed incumbent kingdoms with compelling new technology and a new business model. It used the Web versus physical stores as its channel to customers and transformed video rentals into a monthly service. With no late fees. As a result, Netflix changed the way customers perceived value with a different approach to media consumption. This original strategy created a new market for DVD subscriptions. This simple and powerful idea crushed Blockbuster Video.

    This is a stark contrast from only a few years ago. In 2011, customers revolted as the company raised prices and announced plans to spin off the DVD-by-mail business. Netflix stock tanked as 800,000 subscribers fled.

    Then something legendary happened. Hastings said publicly “I messed up” and “In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success.” This is a stunning admission. Especially when you consider how easily CEOs can slip into becoming the “Chief Ego Officer.” Hastings didn’t. He listened. He took swift action. Netflix fixed its pricing policy.

    When Netflix stumbled, it was savvy of them to ask for the market’s forgiveness. Consumers wanted Netflix to bounce back. The market had come to depend on Netflix.

    Better yet, once forgiven, Netflix rewarded its customers – by innovating and making its services even better.

    Netflix used the big data they have on what, when, where and how their customers watch video to start creating its own content. It made a big and bold bet that proprietary entertainment – purpose built for Internet streaming – would drive revenue and expand their market ever further. Man, did it work. As a result Netflix caught their digital competitors Apple and Amazon

    napping and smashed the legacy content business paradigm. At least for now.

    All with another simple, powerful idea – give people great entertainment, the way they want to consume it, at anytime, on any device. Academy award winner and House of Cards co-creator Kevin Spacey gave a seminal speech on this topic that rocked the media world last year.

    In 2013, Netflix became the first non-TV network to win an Emmy for the series House of Cards. This quarter’s results were in part driven by the second season success of Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Both were eagerly awaited, critically acclaimed and combined have 31 Emmy nominations.

    Now Netflix stands on the precipice of greatness. As it stares down threats from Hollywood, Amazon.com, and grapples with Internet distribution problems, the question is can they be the defining digital media company or not?

    Netflix is positioning to dominate the media landscape of the future. Now they will have to summon even more moxie as the battle to create, deliver, and monetize content in ways that delight consumers and slay competitors, while playing hardball to secure premier Internet distribution. All at the same time. It’s a tall order. And the company is likely to face an escalating war with Amazon, more pressure from Apple and many others. Now the question is will Netflix continue to innovate or slip back into arrogance and rest on its Emmys? Time will tell, but we wouldn’t bet against them.

    Dave Peterson, Al Ramadan and Christopher Lochhead are co-founding partners at Play Bigger Advisors, a San Francisco-based firm that coaches technology executives to build market-leading companies. Follow @playbiggerad

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