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Nov 8, 2012
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Gina Keating speaks here with KGNU’s Claudia Cragg about her new book, Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America’s Eyeballs(Portfolio, 2012). Accoring to Keating, the tale of Netflix is “a long struggle for greatness marked by multiple disasters, lucky breaks, personal betrayal, and broken hearts. It has more drama than most of the movies Netflix rents”
In 1997, two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings, decided to start an online DVD store before most people owned a DVD player. They were surprised and elated when launch-day traffic in April 1998 crashed their server and resulted in 150 sales. Today, Netflix has more than 25 million subscribers and annual revenues above $3 billion. Future success—or even survival—is still far from guaranteed.
First it engaged in a grueling war against video-store behemoth Blockbuster, transforming movie rental forever. Then it jumped into an even bigger battle for online video streaming against Google, Hulu, Amazon, and the big cable companies. Netflix ushered in such innovations as DVD rental by mail, a patented online queue of upcoming rentals, and a recommendation algorithm called Cinematch that proved crucial in its struggle against bigger rivals. Netflix also faces disgruntled customers after price increases and other stumbles that could tarnish the brand forever.
Keating is a freelance writer who has covered media, law and government as a staff writer for Reuters and United Press International in Los Angeles.
The Greater Los Angeles Press Club named her its Print Journalist of the Year in 2001. The same year, she won the Press Club’s award for investigative reporting and the California Teachers Association’s John Swett Award for excellence in education-related journalism for stories she wrote for the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she covered the Texas Legislature, business and culture as a freelance writer for the Associated Press, UPI, the Austin American-Statesman, and Texas Monthly, Food and Wine, Southern Living and Forbes magazines. Her freelance work also has appeared in Daily Variety.