What Can Publishers Learn From Netflix?

What can publishers learn from NetflixWhat do Netflix and books have in common? The former is a fine example of a tech disruptor, the latter has been around (in various formats) for millennia. However, they both compete in the ‘attention economy’.

As a recent article on The Bookseller points out, while we interact with content in new ways, we still spend large chunks of time in search of entertainment. Evenings spent on the sofa or time spent travelling on buses and trains are part of our daily lives, and we often use content to help fill this time.

As a result, we want content that is accessible, portable, immersive, distraction-free and cost-effective. But the question is: will we catch up on the latest episode of “Pretty Little Liars”? Or get stuck into the latest Zadie Smith novel?

The competition is on, but that doesn’t mean the publishing industry can’t learn a thing or two from a digital-first entertainment network such as Netflix.

Tip 1: Data

Data is everything to Netflix. It knows exactly what its users want and utilises data to plan and deliver exactly the right content, at the right time, to the right device. Learning from this, publishers need to invest in technology that facilitates a similar level of data gathering to allow more strategic digital advertising and a more progressive use of analytics tools. The results: less guesswork and more value for the user.

Tip 2: Discovery-driven marketing

Netflix is also rather good at connecting users to great content. If it doesn’t serve up exactly what they’re looking for, it won’t be too far off the mark. So how does Netflix’s focus on its back catalogue translate into the world of publishing? Technology can help enhance the book discovery process (as long as the data is plentiful and accurate). Well-organised content that is published in an agnostic way is easier to re-compile into compelling discovery spaces. And this makes for a much-enhanced book discovery process.

Are you making the most of the paperback (aka the original evergreen entertainment product)?

Date Published : 06th of April 2017

Steve Odart

Published by : Steve Odart

About the Author : Steve Odart is the founder of Ixxus, with 28 years experience in the publishing industry. He started life at the London College of Printing, following his grandfather into the printing industry. He spent many years working with Quark through its launch of Quark XPress, and the Quark Publishing System, before setting up a publishing division within one of the UK’s largest Sun Microsystems Resellers. He then joined Oracle, as EMEA Business Development Director – Publishing and Media, prior to founding Ixxus in 2004. Steve has an extensive knowledge of publishing past, present and future, and has worked with the majority of the largest global publishers in his career to date.