Netflix has changed the way we consume our entertainment, and here's why they're hammering the competition

Netflix just launched a feature called 'Smart Downloads' in Android that automatically deletes the watched episodes to make room for the new one.

                            Netflix has changed the way we consume our entertainment, and here's why they're hammering the competition
(Source: Getty Images)

Netflix is one of the most revolutionary inventions of the 21st century and if you disagree, look at what the giant streaming network just launched. A tool that automatically deletes downloaded episodes of TV shows from your smartphone after you've watched and replaces them with the next available episodes. 

No, it's not magic, it's a feature called 'Smart Downloads' and will be launching this week in Android phones and IOS users will get it later this year. "Downloading today is a very manual process, and most of the time people will only download a couple episodes of a show at a time," Cameron Johnson, a director of product innovation at Netflix said in a press conference last week. "Whenever possible we want Netflix to do the work for you."

And it's not that Netflix does what it pleases because first of all the 'smart download' is an option and secondly, it works only with WiFi connection so you don't have to sulk about losing your data charge. "Giving consumers more control over their entertainment experience is at the heart of everything we do, and members can choose when they want to use Smart Downloads," said Cameron Johnson in a post on the Netflix blog.

Netflix just made binging easier for us and we've got a lot of movies and TV shows to catch up this July. However, if you have been following the streaming network for some time then you know they weren't very keen on downloads. Thanks to their competitors including Amazon Prime Video, who started offering downloads when Netflix resisted the facility on the notion that streaming would catch up the swiftness of downloading so that the latter would just be obsolete.

But that isn't the case, downloads come in handy at areas where the connectivity isn't reliable or when you're on a jet-setting tour and travel on a bus or a plane. Netflix, on a mission to conquer, also took over the game in 2016 when the network allowed subscribers to download most of its content. They sealed the deal by winning over other networks who already had the tool by taking the game a step forward and emerging as the ultimate hero. 

This happened so and the streaming giant will continue to win because of their innovation-driven culture. Take a look at the 'Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility' document that is now a model for other companies to follow mainly because of the belief that a "winning company culture only emerges when every employee feels they personally own the culture." They use innovation as a means to unity.  Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook called it the "most important document ever to come out of the Valley."

In a 2017 podcast series titled 'Masters of Scale,' CEO and co-founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings tells Reid Hoffman that having a strong culture helps the company overcome lows, push the envelope with content and allows for innovation. And they are dead serious about these words. In 2014, the streaming giant landed on Forbes annual list of the World's Most Innovative Companies.

In the Forbes interview Tawni Cranz, the then Chief Talent Officer at Netflix said that some of the company's best innovations have come from giving people the freedom to come up with new ideas and the responsibility to make those ideas work. This the reason why they were the first ones to come up with a section exclusively for kids and a room to create original content, bagging Emmys, 21 so far. While HBO's 'Game of Thrones' alone has scored 38 Emmys, the exponential growth of Netflix is worrisome to so many established biggies in the game. 

Back in 2013, Netflix had 'House of Cards', 'Hemlock Grove', and 'Orange Is the New Black', alongside animated kids’ series and in 2016, Netflix released an estimated 126 original series and films. In 2018, the streaming giant is eyeing to have over 700 series at the end of the year.

While Netflix is growing at a meteoric rate, the competitors are emerging. Of course, you need challenges to stay in the game. The company that started in 1997 to beat Blockbuster and serve as a platform to rent movies and DVD via the internet is now challenging the likes of The Walt Disney Company, who recently announced plans to launch their own streaming platform. If Disney, perhaps the most powerful entertainment company through times, comes up with something unique and remove its content from Netflix, then the streaming giant may take the blow, because of Disney's incomparable fan followers over generations. 

But when it comes to original content creators, even Amazon and Hulu, Netflix still stands supreme. Rolling out revolutionizing the industry once and for all, be it with the service and the entertainment, by changing the ways people are consuming films and TV shows. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, was quoted in a 2013 GQ profile saying, “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.”

Even Netflix's debt-ridden strategy is a game changer and unlike anything, the market has seen. Also called the 'negative cash flow system' the company borrows heavily in order to pay for exclusive content they create. However, this risky financial move is currently a boon as the subscribers are increasing and revenue generated is solid. Recently in April, Netflix announced that they will raise another $1.5 billion in debt and they have 125 million subscribers across the globe. And guess what? It is believed that the subscription-based business models in content distribution of Netflix have rendered piracy pointless. So who's the ultimate winner here?