What does it mean to be an innovator? Our editors debated many companies--and and throughout the list, we're running some of their discussions. This is how we settled on Netflix.
NAY: I get it--Netflix shows are good. So? HBO has been making good shows for years.
YEA: You miss the point. Original programming creates leverage with studios to get premium content like The Avengers.
NAY: That didn't stop it from losing the rights to 90-odd titles in 2013, including Titanic. The irony!
NAY: Like HBO Go, which came out three years ago?
YEA: Go was HBO's Netflix. This isn't just about delivery; it's about content. Rivals, including HBO, are mimicking Netflix by ordering series made for binge-watching. It's the era of the 13-hour movie, no cliff-hangers or act breaks required.
NAY: House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black had cliff-hangers.
YEA: The better to make you binge-watch. Arrested Development didn't, though. It was the kind of thing only Netflix could pull off. Form-breaking TV is just getting started.
NAY: Maybe I'm angry because I still pay for cable.
Successfully applying a proven model in a new context is innovative. Netflix added its own bravura to the cable-TV formula of growing through original programming, along the way strengthening its business, creating new freedom for TV showrunners, and cementing binge-viewing into the cultural landscape.
[Illustration by Richard Perez]