In case you've been living under a rock - Netflix is a media-streaming and video-rental company that has revolutionized the entertainment industry. Founded in 1997 by American entrepreneurs Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, Netflix started as a DVD-by-mail service that offered customers a convenient and affordable way to rent movies without late fees. The idea came to Hastings after he was charged $40 for returning a copy of Apollo 13 past its due date.
In 2007, Netflix launched its streaming service, which allowed subscribers to watch unlimited TV shows and movies online. This was a groundbreaking move that challenged the traditional cable and broadcast TV models. Netflix also invested heavily in creating and acquiring original content, such as House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, and The Crown. Netflix’s co-CEOs, Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, have been the driving force behind the company’s vision and strategy. They have fostered a culture of innovation, customer focus and risk-taking. As Hastings once said, "Most entrepreneurial ideas will sound crazy, stupid and uneconomic, and then they’ll turn out to be right." It has also won numerous awards and accolades for its content and service. Netflix is widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential companies of the 21st century.
What is Netflix's Organizational Structure?
Netflix’s success and growth are not only the result of its innovative products and services, but also of its effective organizational structure. It reflects the company’s core philosophy of people over process, which aims to create a dream team of talented employees who can work together to entertain the world. Netflix's organizational structure is based on three main divisions: functional, geographical and product teams.
The functional division is made up of different business functions, such as content, communication, talent, finance, legal and so on. These functions are led by executives who report directly to the co-CEOs, Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos. The functional division provides strategic direction, coordination and support for the other divisions. The functional division has a hierarchical structure, which means that the decisions from the top are passed down through vertical lines of authority and communication. However, the functional division is also relatively flat, which means that there are few levels of middle management between the top and the bottom. This allows the company to respond quickly to changes in the entertainment industry. The functional division also supports the company’s corporate culture, which encourages open communication and cooperation among employees, regardless of their positions or functions. The top executives at the corporate headquarters are responsible for the strategic management decisions for the entire organization’s streaming operations.
The geographical division is composed of regional teams that manage the local and international streaming operations in different markets. These teams are led by vice presidents who report to the co-CEO and chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. The geographical division allows Netflix to tailor its marketing strategies to the regional market characteristics and customer preferences. For example, Netflix develops its advertising campaigns with the geographical division in mind. These geographical segments reflect the most important market trends for the company’s strategic plan to grow its member base.
Product Team Division
The product team division consists of various teams that focus on creating, acquiring and distributing different types of content, such as original programming, licensed content, films, documentaries and so on. These teams are led by directors or managers who report to the vice presidents of content in their respective regions. The product team division enables Netflix to offer a diverse and high-quality content portfolio that appeals to its subscribers. The product team division is divided into two main categories: original programming and other content. Original programming refers to the TV shows and movies that Netflix produces or co-produces, such as The Witcher, The Queen’s Gambit, The Irishman, and so on. Other content refers to the TV shows and movies that Netflix licenses or streams from other sources, such as Friends, Breaking Bad, Avengers: Endgame, and so on. The strategic objective of these product team divisions is to achieve operational effectiveness in separately managing content production and content distribution.
What are the Advantages of Netflix's Organizational Structure?
Netflix's organizational structure has several advantages that contribute to its success and growth. Some of these advantages are:
- It fosters a culture of freedom and responsibility among its employees, who are encouraged to make decisions, take risks and be accountable for their actions.
- It promotes innovation and creativity by allowing employees to experiment with new ideas and projects without excessive bureaucracy or hierarchy.
- It enhances communication and collaboration by sharing information openly, broadly and deliberately across the organization.
- It improves efficiency and agility by reducing layers of management and enabling faster decision-making and problem-solving.
- It supports diversity and inclusion by hiring talented people from different backgrounds, identities, values and cultures.
What are the Challenges of Netflix Organizational Structure?
Netflix organizational structure also faces some challenges that may affect its performance and sustainability. Some of these challenges are:
- It requires a high level of trust and alignment among its employees, who need to share the same vision, values and goals.
- It demands a high level of competence and performance from its employees, who need to deliver excellent results or face termination.
- It exposes the company to external threats and competition from new entrants or existing rivals in the streaming industry.
- It entails a high cost of producing and acquiring content, which may affect its profitability and cash flow.
Netflix’s organizational structure is a unique and effective way of managing its global business. It enables the company to offer a diverse and high-quality content portfolio that appeals to its subscribers across the world. It also fosters a culture of freedom and responsibility among its employees, who are encouraged to make decisions, take risks and be accountable for their actions.
However, Netflix’s organizational structure also poses some challenges that require constant adaptation and improvement. The company constantly faces external threats and competition from new entrants or existing rivals in the streaming industry. It also demands a high level of trust and alignment among its employees, who need to share the same vision, values and goals. It also entails a high cost of producing and acquiring content, which may affect its profitability and cash flow.
As Netflix continues to grow and evolve, it will need to balance its strengths and weaknesses to maintain its competitive edge in the streaming industry. Netflix’s organizational structure is not only a reflection of its past achievements, but also a blueprint for its future aspirations.