◎ go belly-up 跟肚子有關嗎？
Netflix: Running Laps around the Competition
Many tech companies have become bywords for redefining industries. Netflix is one that's giving entertainment giants a run for their money. As of early 2016, this online streaming video service reaches more than 75 million subscribers in 190 countries. Its already impressive customer base is projected to top 175 million by 2020.
It all started in 1997, when Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, turned a frustrating $40 film-rental late fee into entrepreneurial inspiration. The company began as a pay-per-rental movie-loaning business that delivered DVDs through the mail. In 2000, its well-established brick-and-mortar competitor, Blockbuster, declined to purchase Netflix for US$50 million, and has since gone belly-up while Netflix has evolved to dominate the market.
It has done so by tuning in to changing consumer habits. Over time, Netflix's business model morphed into a flat-fee, unlimited-rental scheme that did away with return dates, overdue fees and shipping costs. The revolution continued with the introduction of streaming video in 2007 and offering it as a stand-alone subscription in 2010. That same year, Netflix also began expanding internationally.
Not content with simply licensing films and television series, Netflix began producing original, critically-acclaimed shows and now seriously threatens HBO, the hitherto king of award-winning content. What's more, Hastings predicts that broadcast TV will fizzle out by 2030. He's probably not far off the mark: conventional TV ratings have been in free fall since 2002.
許多科技公司已成為重新定義產業的代名詞。網飛就對娛樂界的龍頭們構成威脅。直到 2016 年初，這個網路影音串流服務公司已在 190 個國家中擁有超過 7,500 萬名訂戶。網飛已相當驚人的客戶群預估於 2020 年之前將超過 1.75 億人。
一切都從 1997 年開始，當時網飛共同創辦人暨執行長里德．哈斯汀斯將令人氣憤的一筆四十美元電影出租逾期費轉變成創業靈感。該公司從郵寄 DVD 的電影付費租片事業起家。2000 年時，其信譽卓著的實體店家對手百視達，不願以五千萬美元收購網飛，自此走向破產之路，而網飛則發展至現今主導市場的地位。
網飛能有如此成就，在於他們隨時了解客戶不斷變化的習慣。隨著時間的推移，網飛的商業模式已變成統一價格、無限租借的方案──取消歸還日期、逾期費以及運費。這樣的革新持續至 2007 年推出串流影音，並於 2010 年提供獨立的影音串流訂閱服務。同年，網飛開始拓展國際市場。
不以單純取得電影和電視影集的授權而滿足，網飛開始製作原創且廣受好評的節目，現在嚴重威脅 HBO 這個因內容製作獲獎連連而稱霸至今的王者。此外，哈斯汀斯預估無線廣播電視將於 2030 年前逐漸沒落。他可能挺準的：傳統電視的收視率自 2002 年起便急遽下滑。