An Up Close Look at How Netflix Does Big Data

An Up Close Look at How Netflix Does Big Data

Some of the most compelling examples of big data success are popping up where you might least expect them. Enter Netflix. The video streaming giant is taking full advantage of the data in its possession and the technologies built around it to meet customer demand and improve the overall quality of its service. Check out how Netflix makes magic from big data.

Big Data Births a Hollywood Hit!

House of Cards was the first in a succession of hit Original Series from Netflix. How the series came to life may be as intriguing as its mob-oriented plot. Come to find out, House of Cards viewers were identifed as being likely to watch content involving Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, respectively the star and director of the show, based on their viewing habits. This simple formula played a huge role in Netflix’s ability to realize there was a viable audience for a series that would go on to be a huge success.

The Recipe for Recommendations

Netflix is well known for its impressive recommendation system. You watch a movie, and as soon as you’re done, there’s a selection of similar movies the service recommends you try next. If you guessed that this system is driven by data, you guessed right. Netflix collects a plethora of data from its millions of subscribers at virtually every turn – when they search for new content, when they submit a rating, even when they fast forward, rewind, or pause a movie. These details and more are all used to help the company guide subscribers to their next viewing experience.

Big Data for Customer Retention

Netflix represents a classic case of how companies are using big data to drive important business decisions. Another example of this can be seen in its customer retention strategy. If Netflix notices that a significant number of subscribers using a device such as a PlayStation or Xbox is rarely interacting with the service, the company instantly suspects that availability on that platform may be an issue. Based on this information, Netflix is able to respond by troubleshooting and addressing any problems that may have been detected before the subscribers decide to cancel their service.

The Scale of Success

Like many companies, Netflix began its mission in data management and storage using a traditional relational database management system in MySQL. And like many of those same companies, its needs exceeded the support this type of technology could provide, particulary when shifting the focus towards web-based streaming. Netflix offiically went big data by dropping MySQL for Cassandra and using the cloud for storage. The company further seized the moment by adopting an extensive set of data collection practices and creating various algorithms to optimize the process. Pretty darn cool.

You don’t need millions of subscribers or billions of dollars in revenue to learn from Netflix. Its effective use of big data can be seen as a blueprint for any company, big or small, that aspires to make the most of this phenomenal trend.

An Up Close Look at How Netflix Does Big Data
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