Best Practices We Can Learn from VoD Providers: Netflix, HBO Now and Hulu Plus

Some of the greatest players VoD providers in today’s video on demand market make the best business role models for any type of company. This article presents best practices of three of the largest and most successful VoD providers today.


When it first entered the market in 1997, Netflix drew its fan base and revenue by delivering DVD-by-mail services in the United States only. Now, 18 years later, Netflix is one of the independent VoD providers, delivering VoD content worldwide and  gaining more than 5.5 billion US dollars in revenue, which is growing year-over-year, having experienced a steady growth ever since 2002. Here’s only one reason why: Making it all about the employees – organizational changes “The best thing you can do for employees – a perk better than foosball or free sushi – is hire only “A” players to work alongside them. Excellent colleagues trump everything else,” Patty McCord, who had run Netflix since its earliest times and left the company in 2013, explained in an article last year, where she detailed on How Netflix reinvented HR. So yes, best practices can also relate to other aspects outside the technical ones that define a service. Patty further explained in the article that letting go of employees whose skills no longer apply with changes in the company (in Netflix’s case, technological advances) is a beneficial step for both the company and the employee. It’s not only that the company would suffer loses otherwise, but the employee would also go through frustrating phases trying to reach a performance that is beyond their reach. When Netflix shifted from DVD-by-mail to VoD content, Patty explained, the challenge was immense: “We had to store massive volumes of files in the cloud and figure out how huge numbers of people could reliably access them. So we needed to find people deeply experienced with cloud services who worked for companies that operate on a giant scale.” Netflix’s best practice became trying to put together great teams of employees dedicated to the company’s interests.


HBO – the television program started streaming its own range of video on demand content no sooner than April 2015. After having been made available on iOS devices, HBO Now was offered free on a 30-day trial basis to users. According to BTIG data analysis, over 1 million people signed up for the 30-day free trial of HBO. Data, according to BTIG, shows that at least 850.000 people currently pay for HBO Now, but the number of subscribers could actually go past one million. Best practice: Premium content for targeted audience “At the end of the day, this is all about the content,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler has declared. Plepler is very confident when it comes to the company’s newly released service performance, and with good reason. The TV channel has more than 30 million subscribers in the US alone, and HBO Now will likely follow in the footsteps of this model. What’s more, the HBO streaming service aims at catering the needs and wants of the millennial generation, Plepler having alluded to the fact that there is a target of 10 million people for HBO to reach.


Unlike Netflix, which has no advertising, Hulu Plus does feature commercials on many of the shows that it delivers. However, they’re not as many as on traditional broadcast TV and can be customized to give users the chance to choose what types of advertising they want to see. Although ads might put people off, there’s a reason HULU can compare itself with the likes of Netflix and even Amazon. It delivers new content faster. Availability of current shows as they air The above is probably HULU’S first of its best practices. Something subscribers have always loved about HULU is streaming of latest season episodes of popular shows right after they air. For people who want to access premium content as it airs on TV, HULU is definitely on top of the list. Updating its library more frequently than its competitors has also been part of the company’s business model for years on end.  

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