Website Localization: How Netflix Entered Every Household Around the World

In the digital era, Netflix has emerged as the ultimate entertainment platform provider. Despite a number of similar platforms, Netflix has managed to stay on top of its game. 

Origins of Netflix

This might come as a surprise to you but Netflix started out as a DVD renting business. It was founded in 1997 by two friends, Reed Hastings and Marc Rudolph. Reed was a computer scientist whereas Marc was a marketing executive. 

They kickstarted the operations with an online DVD rental startup. Customers could browse online, choose the movie they wanted and the DVD was delivered to their doorstep. As they began to gain customers, they switched from per rental pricing model to a monthly subscription billing model. 

With the steady growth, they decided to move completely online and started offering online streaming services in 2007. This move enabled them to mark their presence on international grounds.

In just three years, Netflix has established itself in 130 countries around the world. Since then, the network has grown to include 190 nations. Today, two-thirds of Netflix members live outside of the United States and Canada.

Essential Lessons to Learn from Netflix’s Global Expansion

Businesses that are aspiring to make the move to go global can learn important lessons from Netflix’s approach. It has carved a path for itself that sets it apart from many of its competitors. Following are some of those lessons:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Netflix chose to go for a slow and steady approach rather than an aggressive approach. This way they managed to avoid aiming too high too soon. Since globalization is a detailed process and requires thorough preparation for each step. 

Netflix started expanding from Canada in 2010. This was a particularly smart move since the USA and Canada are quite similar on multiple levels. This way they were able to take small risks and understand what works and what doesn’t. 

As the streaming giant continued to evolve it improved with each expansion and constantly improved their localization strategy with each new market. Their efforts turned out to be so successful that they even have a large number of viewers in culturally rich countries such as India and Korea.

Important Lesson: When choosing to expand internationally, it is important to take it slow. It may seem like a good idea to launch in multiple countries at once. However, it will take away from you the liberty to make mistakes. Expanding slowly means that you get ample room to make mistakes and learn from them as you grow. Similarly, you can hire an agency that offers professional website localization services. This way you will be able to leverage their expertise and experience for the success of your project.

Don’t go for One Size Fits All Solutions

Netflix knew the significance of localization when it came to global expansion. They provide localized content that is highly personalized to each regional market. In fact, their website is integrated with machine learning. The algorithm picks up on the preferences of each person and displays content tailored around personal preferences. This means that they implement localization on a national level as well as a personal level. 

Similarly, instead of trying to stuff US content down people’s throats, they chose to go with original shows made in target countries and around their culture.

Important Lesson: Sometimes businesses make the mistake of thinking that they can offer the same content to every part of the world. However, that is a sure shortcut to failure. In order to succeed, it is crucial to gain consumer’s interest and trust. And that is only possible when you communicate with them in a language that is familiar to them. By opting for localization services, you can adapt your content in an effective manner. As a result, your business’s transition will be seamless and efficient. Moreover, you will have time to focus on tasks that require your mandatory assistance. 

Integrating the Expertise and Insights of Local Talent

The operations heads at Netflix understood the importance of involving local talent wherever possible. Whether it is hiring for subtitling services or dubbing services or adapting the graphics, they choose to work with local talent whenever possible.

Some countries have such distinct cultures that it becomes crucial to take the help of natives. For instance, Koreans have a culture that is quite distinct from the USA. When adapting the content, it is essential to understand their norms and traditions to provide the best quality of translations. In their culture, it is considered rude to address someone by their first name, when subtitling Korean seasons the natives take care to use the honorifics even in subtitles to provide an immersive experience to viewers. 

Important Lesson: Involve and take help from locals wherever possible to avoid making basic mistakes. By using the locals for translations and localization processes you also speed up your projects as they are way more fluent and have an embedded understanding of their culture. As a result, you will save time and cost on market research. 

Final Verdict

Netflix’s strategic moves in regard to localization teach us important lessons on how to value your customers and keep them as a priority. Instead of looking for shortcuts, Netflix chose to take the long way when it comes to expanding; By thoroughly working on each segment of their global expansion strategy.

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