A NETFLIX Original: Where to Find Data Points and How to Use Them

A NETFLIX Original: Where to Find Data Points and How to Use Them

Netflix has almost become a lockdown essential. Using their example we can see how the day-to-day operation of a business can generate data that yields fantastic results, and took a DVD rental website to the top of the entertainment industry.

You don’t need to be a cutting-edge data analysis business to uncover the incredible benefits data science can deliver to your organisation. In our point of view, the best and first place to look when trying to use data science to improve your organisation’s performance, is at the data already inherent in your business. This is exactly what Netflix did, still do, and is how they know more about your silver screen preferences than you do.

The below example illustrates some of the key benefits that can be obtained from leveraging the data already present in your business to take you to the very top of your industry.


We all know that well-targeted marketing is needed to achieve strong results. It’s the reason all that spam email is addressed to you by name and why your google adverts show you the very same shoes you looked at 2 days ago. For Netlflix, their main advertising tool came in the form of trailers. They used the data generated by simply watching content to create a personalised profile of what users would respond most positively to, and edited their trailers accordingly.

Watch mostly action movies? Your trailer focused on the action; the fight scenes, the car chases.

Like movies with strong female leads? Your trailer focused on the leading lady.

Viewing rates for users seeing these custom trailers far outperformed traditional means and this very same concept can easily be applied to your very own email campaigns and in-app communications!


In 2012 Netflix started producing the acclaimed political drama “House of Cards”. This was the first time an online streaming service had ever dabbled in making its own content; could they find success with their first attempt? Of course they could! Because Netflix was using data generated by their users to tell them what to make. They would cluster users together based on data points such as most watched actors and genres or when and how long they watch for. From this they could create user clusters, and see what content matched those clusters. User clusters with the highest ratios of content to users were being well served, they had plenty to watch. The big clusters with a lower ratio, well that’s where to target next.

Say for example the users you’re targeting:

- Watch dark, gritty dramas for longer

- Rate political thrillers with villainous protagonists higher than those with a straight up good guy

- Rate movies with Kevin Spacey higher than movies with Kevin Costner

Well those data points tell you exactly what to make, and Netflix didn’t need to conduct expensive market research to discover it, just read the data they were already generating. In this case it told Netflix that House of Cards would be a sure-fire winner. There’s no need to rely on just the artistic vision of a director anymore, because big data just got into the movie business. The same can be seen in the creation of subsequent Netflix Original, “Orange is the New Black”. Netflix saw a huge following in the show ‘Weeds’ across a large array of user clusters and so they sought out the creator Jenji Kohan. She had no need to convince them that they should pick her over other potential show-runners, the data had already spoken.

The Conclusion?

This just brushes the surface of how Netflix employs data science but, it serves as a great example of two of the key ways utilising the already existing data in your business can have massive impacts. Furthermore, it's just one of the reasons we’re so confident in the solutions Neon Agency develop; as great technology and data science sit at the heart of all our programmes.

As we tailor make our solutions, we can, like Netflix, utilise the specific and unique data your operations generate in these solutions. It is important for you as a business to understand the outcomes in real time of everything you are investing in with employee engagement and performance improvement. At Neon, we create storytelling from your rich data set, identifying the employees that feel good (or not) within your organisation. Identifying morale dips before they become an issue is the proactive approach we take. Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can use your data to give you lasting and sustainable results.