Note — Aug 11, 2019

Netflix Is Not a Tech Company

Seen in → No.89

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Good post by Ben Evans on whether Netflix is a tech or TV company. He believes that their tech, though good, is not the differentiator. They “used tech as a crowbar, and the crowbar had to be good, but it’s actually a TV company.” As software eats the world and almost everyone in every field uses digital technologies, it seems like a useful framing when comparing business models and competitors, especially when thinking about “what are the questions that matter?”

The same applies to Tesla, and indeed to many other companies using software to enter other industries, especially D2C - what are the questions that matter? Often, they’re not tech questions at all. […]

Hence, Netflix isn’t using TV to leverage some other business - TV is the business. It’s a TV company. Amazon is using content as a way to leverage its subscription service, Prime, in much the same way to telcos buying cable companies or doing IPTV - it’s a way to stop churn.