Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Netflix + Community = Flixster?

I’m definitely going to evoke the “I told you so” sentiment, on this topic. A few weeks ago, we had a lengthy discussion on the survival of Netflix. Friends pitched in with their ideas and I stuck to my conclusion that “Only Community can save Netflix“. Well, today I stumbled upon an article on a movie based social network called Flixster that seemed to validate that.

What’s Flixster?

Flixster is a MySpace like site that’s focused solely on Movies. At its core, Flixster has a movie rating service akin to Yahoo! Movies and Netflix; only simpler. But it’s core differentiator is the social networking aspect; one that Netflix lacks.

My take:

Creating my Flixster profile and inviting friends was simple and easy. Adding reviews will be enjoyable and creating a community of friends who similarly enjoy movies will be awesome!

How well is Flixster doing?

i. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, a self-professed movie buff, quotes ComScore data to predict healthy growth trends emerging:

They show Flixster growing from 4 million to 31 million monthly page views from March – December 2006. In that same period, unique visitors grew from 328,000 per month to just over 1 million.

ii. Alex Iskold of Read/Write Web, analyzes some of Flixster’s core features (movie profiles), its similarity to MySpace, its uniqueness, growth potential and the rise of the niche social network. Definitely worth a read.

If only Netflix had thought of this before? So, what do you think?

Is it too late for Netflix to incorporate community features or is it a totally different ballgame altogether?

Filed under: Miscellaneous

7 Responses

  1. Mario Vellandi says:

    Well Mario,
    it appears that community is taking even greater stage. My favorite site for film has always been imdb.com ; the immense volume of relational data is mind-blowing. The community reviews and the large number of votes on different films really paint a picture for me on the quality of a film (kind of like how I use amazon just to check music and book ratings). Then add to this, a quick search on Wikipedia and you get even more in depth. What’s even more valuable though, is the film/television industry support imdb.com has.

    To refer back to Netflix, I have no doubt they can build a better community modeled after cool features in flixter. But when building such greater community features, NF should also investigate how such programs can be designed for additional revenue.

    I think a potential model for Netflix is to adopt peer-to-peer DVD sales and swaps. Half.com by Ebay makes around 15% comm. Without pondering the subject of how NF should strategize commissions and incentive programs to death, I think the business model is applicable and obviously highly relevant…

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  2. Mario Sundar says:

    “it appears that community is taking even greater stage.”
    IMHO, most definitely, Mario.

    Flixster definitely aims to be an IMDB meets Wikipedia meets MySpace for movie lovers.

    I agree on your take that NF needs to tailor their community features for greater revenue and I understand it’s not easy given their existing set up.

    As a NF user, given severe competition from BB, the community is the only reason I still visit Netflix. That and the international cinema choices that BB doesn’t carry. I’ll soon have a post on why I love Flixster vis-a-vis Netflix. Stay tuned.

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  3. joe says:

    just caught this on my feedster-search thingy… Thanks for the kind words. Really glad you like the site – and i agree with your analysis vis-a-vis the pros and cons of Netflix vs Blockbuster.

    Best,
    Joe – flixster founder

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  4. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for dropping by. As an ardent movie buff, I enjoy hanging out at your site and look forward to its evolution.

    Let me know if you guys start a blog.

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  5. […] Flixster snowballs: Yes, both Arrington and I think Flixster rocks! However Arrington adds a caveat: There have been some complaints about Flixster’s […]

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  6. […] Netflix as well as some of my own endeavors at LinkedIn. I did recreate to him, my past history of raves, rants, belief, and evangelism of about my favorite online DVD store and the power of it’s […]

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  7. sanday says:

    am folling in lve with his site i came o flixster through a friend who introduced t thius .since thta day i have never left my pc for anyther site

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