Skip to main content


Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Transitioning to evolve with a new revolution

As time moves on, so too do the places, individuals, and things that make up the everyday life of an individual. One of the most fast-moving evolutions is technology. In all its forms, technology has continued to transition and rapidly evolve to align and shift into focus with whatever the next revolution may be. It is important to look back on the history of technological advancement to gain understanding – in as little as thirty years, society has gone from letters across oceans to messages replied to within seconds. The first mobile phones were large and bulky, and now they are so thin that if one sits down with their phone in their pocket, it can crack the screen. Twenty years ago, dial up was the introduction of internet in the home. An electric car was unheard of. As little as ten years ago, record players and cassette tapes were slowly replaced by CDs, while video tapes became scarce when the easier, more convenient concept of DVDs began to circulate as physical copies. Video rental stores like Video Ezy and Blockbuster began to go into decline when video streaming was introduced. As the doors of once-beloved rental franchises began to close for the final time, virtual doorways began to creep open. The most prolific of these video streaming companies is Netflix.

Before the introduction of video streaming, it seemed that DVDs would be the final evolution in visual entertainment. With the implementation of Blu-ray and then Ultraviolet, it seemed even more likely that DVDs would continue to generate revenue. However, as DVD players’ prices ceased to become more affordable, the number of DVD player purchases – and, consequently, DVDs – began to go into decline, much like the old-school video rental stores. Even as this entire technological revolution whirred and flourished, video rental stores continued to replace video tapes with DVDs to attempt to maintain their relevance as a flourishing industry. It was around this time that Netflix came in fruition.

Providing individuals with a less-hassle, more convenient way to rent out or purchase their entertainment, the streaming company was riding the waves of entertainment into what seemed to be a sturdy future. After the hurdles of price rises and drops of DVD equipment, Netflix began considering ways to adapt and shift their business model. Once a more convenient, easier-to-use way for individuals to rent their entertainment out (think no late fees, pick and choose systems), Netflix made a critical move that has proven to be crucial to its continuing success – they took note of the way that the world was moving and they harnessed this information to expand on their business model. They used this information to transition into what is today known as the world’s most abundant streaming website. With over 125 million subscribers in April 2018, Netflix has cemented its relevance in the virtual streaming industry (and the entertainment industry, for that matter). Home to a number of successful programs – including both Netflix originals and projects from outside of the streaming titan of industry – Netflix has successfully paved the way for both itself as a company and the creators that work it, to shift and switch things up until they prove to work for them. This is a business move that has proven time and time again to be advantageous to all parties involved.

While the obvious success of Netflix’s transition into its new format cannot be overstated, some voiced concern over the accessibility of programs featured on the popular entertainment platform. For example, Netflix originals are available only on Netflix, as well as some foreign films of which viewers genuinely believe deserve their time on the big screen. The exposure, publicity, and awareness to these projects that goes unaccounted for is absolutely a cause for discussion, but regardless of if that conversation is to happen, one fact remains abundantly clear – Netflix has kick started an industry that rivals the traditional Foxtel model. Countries all over the world have their own streaming websites – such as the Philippines’’ Pinoy channel – that are fast becoming more popular as the revolution of virtual streaming gains momentum. While Netflix is a repetitive leader in the streaming industry, housing newly released, newly added, or newly created content on a regular basis, other streaming companies like Foxtel, Amazon Prime, and the up-and-coming Disney streaming platform stay relevant because they have access to projects that Netflix cannot grasp hold of – such as HBO’s Game of Thrones. While the competitors remain strong, the value and overall content keeps Netflix firmly in the lead of this evolution of the entertainment industry.

While the relationship with the consumer is as important as ever in ensuring the maintenance and continued success of any business, the relationship with a company’s staff is just as important – if not more so. As the entertainment industry becomes more competitive, it pays to keep the valued, hard-working individuals within the umbrella of a company like Netflix (who need the hard-workers, more than the mediocre, to stay ahead), rather than let them take their talents elsewhere. Now more than ever tech companies are either refusing to switch up their methods and disappearing as a result, or realising and adapting to the changes in the industry, thus becoming continued successes as opposed to one hit wonders.  It says a lot about the kind of company that Netflix is, that not only has the streaming giant captivated – and kept a firm grasp on – the attention of consumers the world over, but it has also become one of the most sought-after companies for employment in the world. The entertainment industry is an eternal one (individuals will always seek entertainment, even if the methods of such entertainment change over time). As Netflix continues to tower over its rivals in the industry, it also continues to learn from its past misjudgements and utilise the lessons to empower and advance the business model that has made it the go-to streaming platform for millions of people across the globe.

As technology surges forward, outdated methods of digital entertainment products use begin to disappear, eliminating the more traditional methods of entertainment in favour of younger models. Habitually, companies that forged their beginnings based on outdated modes of technology fail as said outdated models do. However, Netflix opted not to fall away, but to use the evolution of technological advancement to strengthen their business model by adapting and implementing the newer models to expand on their content methods. This critical move helped Netflix to advance to the point where it is often referred to as the world’s largest streaming giant.

If you would like to contribute an article to Cornell React, please email us.
Skip to toolbar