There’s no doubt that Netflix is one of the most popular ways to watch videos online, and with over 60 million subscribers worldwide it’s obvious they’re doing something right. Netflix excels in the world of online video and has definitely figured out how to make things work… and work very, very well. Viewer subscriptions increase by the millions quarterly, with subscriptions projected to keep on growing.
Already available in roughly 50 different countries, Netflix plans are in the works to expand availability to over 200 countries around the world. And while there are other certainly remarkable video on demand platforms like Hulu, HBO Now and many, many more, Netflix just seems to do things a little better.
With all they’ve already done and what they continue to do, there’s certainly a thing or two other video on demand platforms can learn from Netflix. Not only is Netflix extremely easy to use, but they also excel at offering a highly personalized user experience. Subscribers just seem to “get more” when it comes to Netflix, and what they offer should serve as a perfect example to other video on demand platforms looking to succeed in this market.
What is it exactly that Netflix is doing so right?
5 Things VOD Providers Can Learn from Netflix
1. Easy to Navigate User Interface
Navigating through a video on demand platform should be easy and effortless. We live in an online world of instant gratification and the last thing anyone wants to do when looking for a video is spend a bunch of time on a frustrating user interface. Netflix realized this a long time ago and has incorporated one of the most user-friendly interfaces available on the web.
In June 2015, Netflix changed the way they did things for the first time in four years, making it easier for their subscribers to come across titles they might be interested in watching. Exploring a range of different titles has never been easier with the user interface Netflix has incorporated. Rather than separate pages, everything is organized on one simple page that makes it effortless to navigate through endless titles.
From home screen to actually watching the video itself, Netflix has found a way to organize pages on their platform that make it effortless for people to find their way around. Videos are sorted by genre and also customized to user’s personal preference, and when hovering over a title, information about the video comes up so users can quickly decide if it’s something they’d like to watch.
With everything neatly categorized into rows rather than separate pages, Netflix has made it possible to scroll through these rows and get real information about every title that comes up. When a user hovers over a title there’s a slideshow of images from the movie, something that Netflix believes makes it easier for subscribers to decide if they might be interested in watching what they’re looking at.
At Uscreen, we also want to make sure our members and viewers are met with an easy to navigate user interface. People want a UI that looks good, feels good, and just makes sense. Give them that and they’ll be more likely to come back.
2. Encouraging Engagement
Once a user is done with their video, Netflix still doesn’t stop. Like what you watched? Perfect. Netflix will offer you recommendations based on what you just watched. If you stop in the middle of a video, they will ask you if you’d like to keep watching. And they’ve got to, knowing if they don’t that they’re going to quickly lose the viewers they have.
Why is this? The new era of video on demand services highlights the modern consumer’s impatience. The internet has made us a society that is largely used to instant gratification. Netflix knows this and has made it possible not only to watch just one episode, but the ability to binge watch as well. We’ve all done it. Sat down to watch just one episode of the Walking Dead and found ourselves half a season in eight hours later.
How does Netflix keep users on the couch and in front of their screens? They ask. Finish one episode and they’ll ask you if you want to keep watching. Of course you do. You’ve got to see what happens next, right?
The engagement Netflix provided makes a huge difference for users who feel like they’re viewing experience is more personable. When someone is encouraged to participate in what it is they’re watching, they’re more likely to come back for more.
Other video on demand platforms could definitely use to incorporate something similar, as keeping users engaged is one easy way to make sure they stay. Whether asking subscribers if they want to keep watching or suggesting other titles based on their preference, Netflix has found a way to keep constantly engaged with their viewers, which is something other online video platforms should surely take note of.
3. Feedback Based Suggestions
One aspect of engagement Netflix encourages that other video on demand platforms could definitely replicate is how they offer feedback based suggestions. In an online world of endless choices, it can be hard to navigate through the many options one has when choosing something to watch. Netflix makes this easy by offering feedback based suggestions according to what viewers like most.
Their 5-star rating system based on viewer’s feedback leads to thousands of options for the titles that best suit their personal tastes. If other video on demand platforms offered something similar then they’d see some of the success that has kept Netflix as the top platforms for online viewing.
Did you like what you watched? Perfect. Netflix has thousands of other titles that are similar to what you just saw. This eliminates the need for endless searching for something you might not even like. Didn’t like what you watched? Even better. Give it a low rating and you’ll never see similar titles to the videos you just couldn’t make it through.
Hulu and Hulu Plus do this as well. On their homepage you’ll see highlighted shows based on your past visits and what you’ve been watching.
By offering feedback suggestions, Netflix can offer their subscribers only titles similar to what they’ve already enjoyed. And this is the case for every single genre they offer. From comedies to documentaries, once you provide feedback you’re only going to see the kinds of movies you like based on the ratings you’ve given.
4. Mobile-Friendly Viewing
In today’s modern world, people who use the internet want to do so when they want, where they want. If a video on demand platform doesn’t offer the option for mobile viewing you can be sure the majority of viewers are going to quickly turn elsewhere to see what they want to see. Netflix has understood this for quite some time and has made it possible for subscribers to watch their favorite things on any device they choose.
Our habits of internet use have changed drastically from the beginning days of the World Wide Web. No longer are we forced to sit at a desk plugged in to our desktop computers to see what we want on the internet. Technology has moved forward at lightning speed and smart companies know they must move right along with it. Mobile viewing is where it’s at, and if it’s not there the subscribers aren’t going to be either.
Netflix offers apps for both iPhone and Android and has carried over their easy to use interface to this mobile app. Gumroad picked up on the benefits and also offers mobile apps to make viewing easy for users.
Other companies that offer online videos but don’t have an option for mobile viewing will quickly realize that they’re not going to get the subscriptions that keep Netflix leading the world of online video. Mobile viewing has become the most preferred way to watch video and those that don’t offer it need to change that right away if they want to stay ahead of the competition.
5. Innovative Subscription Model
One thing Netflix has going for them that far surpasses any competition they may have is the subscription model they offer. The millions of subscribers they do have obviously appreciate what they’ve put together, with their subscription base only constantly increasing. They’ve found a way to excite their customers while keeping things fresh enough to motivate them to continually renew their subscriptions.
With one in every four households in the US now subscribing to Netflix, it’s obvious that other video on demand platforms could learn a thing or two from the subscription model Netflix offers. Rather than requiring their subscribers to pay a large upfront fee, Netflix keeps things simple by offering a low monthly price that’s affordable no matter what one’s income might be.
Netflix still makes it possible for people to subscribe to actual DVDs, something many online video platforms are missing. There are still millions of people that prefer to rent DVDs rather than viewing content online, and Netflix is one company that’s making this possible.
This summer, Vimeo got on board the subscription bus when it rolled out a set of features to let creators offer monthly subscription-based on-demand services. Vimeo had already offered VOD titles in an a la carte fashion for sale or rental, but now members have the added option of charging viewers a monthly subscription fee for unlimited viewing.
Online video platforms are quickly changing to subscription based models based on the popularity that Netflix has seen by offering such. Because they do so, they’re able to meet the demands of their users while influencing a huge range of customer preference. With a Netflix subscription, users truly get it all. From DVD rental options to mobile viewing capability, a subscription to Netflix can literally take a subscriber anywhere they want to go.
In a rapidly changing technological industry, video on demand has never been more popular. Netflix has been a consistent leader in the field since it all began and continues to innovate to meet the needs of these changes. Whether it be the adaptability for viewing on any device or the fully customizable user interface that offers viewers the titles they want to see, Netflix is continuing to pave the way as the most popular video on demand platform the world has ever known.
With over 60 million subscribers that only continue to increase, you know Netflix is doing something right. Those that wish to follow the success Netflix continues to see should turn towards the options they’ve implemented that provide the best user experience one can find on the internet today.