Have you ever wondered how so many shows come and go so quickly?  How big name name directors and writers can still bomb in the theatres?  Hollywood has always avoided saying any production is a “sure thing.”  Even the best talent fails to come through sometimes, and there is no real secret to know what people will like.  At least that’s what we thought, until Netflix came along.

When Netflix asks you to rate movies, it is doing a lot more than coming up with suggestions for what you should watch next.  They are compiling data from millions of subscribers and finding out what people really enjoy watching.  Do they like drama?  What kind of drama?  In what setting? In what style?  with or without comedic relief?  Starring what actors and actresses?  Anything else you can imagine, they have data on it.  They have taken this data, and turned it into award winning shows.

Netflix original programming has become some of the most entertaining and best shows available.  Their in house created shows, such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Hemlock Grove, have been incredibly sucessful.  The newest series of the popular show Arrested Development, was aired on Netflix alone.  House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey, has been nominated for 9 Primetime Emmy’s, including one for Most Outstanding Drama.  Netflix created shows recieved 14 Emmy nominations in total.

Netflix has roughly 33 million subscribers worldwide and average 30 million “plays” a day.  More people watched movies and TV shows streaming last year than they did on DVD’s, and the odds continue to move in their favor. Kevin Spacey recently did a speech talking about the change of media, and how giving the customer what they want is the way to go.  If they want to binge watch an entire season, give them the whole season all at once.  And that is exactly what Netflix did.

So we can all  learn from Netflix and their practices.  They didn’t have to hire tons of companies to survey strangers, to do market research; they simply asked their customers, what do you like?  Then they made it happen.  Taking advantage of the data around us is one of the most important steps to pleasing your customers, and the data isn’t as hard to find as you think.