Content Intelligence Blog

3 min read

What Can Netflix Do To Differentiate Themselves From Amazon Instant Video & HBO GO?

Oct 17, 2014 1:00:21 PM

Cut The Cord Webinar

Movies and TV shows – everyone has their favorites... and everyone has their favorite way of watching them. Now we have literally millions of options at our fingertips at all times. We don’t have to drive to a rental store or wait for something to come on TV – we can have it now via the Internet.

Streaming content is the way of the future, and Netflix is at the forefront of the movement, but they aren’t going to be the only ones who want in on the action. Competitors like Amazon Instant Video and HBO are exploring the potential. Yesterday, HBO announced that they will offer an online-only subscription in 2015 – no cable access required. This is huge, and Netflix just sat up and took notice. Amazon, on the other hand, pretty much offers streaming video as a value-add to their Prime service, but they are continuing to explore the potential here, and they have a lot of resources at their disposal. Netflix should take this threat very seriously.

Netflix has a TON of data on its subscribers’ preferences, and they have been smart about using it to make investment decisions – like deciding to create original content like the House of Cards series. Netflix is in a strong position in the world of streaming content, but it’s a fickle industry and if they take their focus off their growth strategy for an instant, things could change. They need to continue to strengthen their current points of difference while also innovating... pushing their competitors further and further behind them.

We surveyed 260 people recently. Here’s what they said is most important to their choice to subscribe to a streaming video service.


  • Low subscription price
  • Easy to find what I'm looking for
  • Easy to start streaming video
  • Large TV SHOW selection
  • Large MOVIE selection
  • Available on my preferred device
  • Availability of new TV SHOW releases
  • Ability to subscribe without cable access
  • Availability of new MOVIE releases


  • Exclusive content that I like to watch


  • Ability to share access with family members
  • Offers recommendations based on my interests
  • Subscription includes benefits besides streaming video
  • Student discount

Netflix needs to focus time and money on what matters to customers. It’s interesting that “Offers recommendations based on my interests�? is viewed as lower importance but Netflix focuses a lot of time and development dollars on their algorithms to do this.

Customers also care less about exclusive content and more just on the size of the content library and timeliness of new releases. This is interesting seeing as Netflix is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on developing original content. Perhaps an even more profitable investment would be to increase customer perception of their non-exclusive content –such as their deal with Disney and working to get movie releases faster.

If we look at the Vennli results for each competitor – Amazon and HBO – we see that Netflix dominates on most choice factors, but differentiators in the eyes of customers depend on the competing offering.

  • HBO specializes in exclusive TV show content. To steal HBO customers, Netflix might target perceptions of their timely availability of new movie releases – an unmet need with this crowd.
  • Amazon has comparable libraries and original content. To steal Amazon, the trick for Netflix will be to differentiate when it comes to original content and timeliness of releases.

This is a fast moving market. Netflix will need to monitor customer perception of these factors over time to see how market changes as both Netflix and these competing offerings make movements.

Check out the full webinar recording below for additional insight.

Topics: Strategy

Written by Vennli

Vennli is the content intelligence platform that empowers marketing leaders to increase the effectiveness of content marketing for each persona across every stage of the buyer’s journey - from awareness to advocacy. The smart content planning tool combines customer data and artificial intelligence, including insights about what matters most to the target market, to make intelligent content, messaging, and communication recommendations that will attract, convert, and retain more customers.

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