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Netflix: A TV Company or Tech Company? The Importance of LA Questions


In an essay published by Benedict Evans in 2019, he argued that Netflix should be considered a ‘TV company’ rather than a ‘tech company’. The basis of his argument was that all the questions that matter for the company are related to television, such as rights, types of shows, commissioning models, and stars. While technology played a crucial role in Netflix’s entry into the market, it is primarily a commodity, and the key point of leverage lies elsewhere.

The Importance of LA Questions

Netflix’s success as a TV company is largely due to its focus on the important questions related to television, which Evans refers to as LA questions. By leveraging technology, Netflix was able to enter the market and compete with traditional TV networks. However, its success ultimately depended on its ability to answer the key LA questions that would determine the quality and appeal of its content.

The Importance of Rights

One of the most critical LA questions for Netflix is rights. As a streaming service, Netflix must secure the rights to stream content that will attract viewers. Without the right content, Netflix would not be able to compete with traditional TV networks. Therefore, it must constantly negotiate and secure the necessary rights to provide content viewers want to watch.

The Importance of Show Types

Another important LA question for Netflix is the types of shows it produces. With stiff competition, Netflix must produce shows that are unique and appealing to its viewership. Its success in producing popular shows, such as Stranger Things and The Crown, demonstrates the importance of getting the show types and genres right. This is not an easy task, as the preferences of viewers are constantly shifting, and Netflix must remain agile to meet their demands.

Commissioning Models

The commissioning model is another vital LA question for Netflix. The company must decide whether to produce shows in-house or outsource production to other companies. Its original programming strategy has been successful and has helped it distinguish itself in the crowded streaming market. However, the company must balance these original productions with the costs of production. As it continues to produce more content in-house, its budget for content acquisition may become more constrained.

Stars on What Basis

Finally, Netflix must decide how to attract viewers to its content. One way is to secure stars that are recognizable to audiences. Stars can add credibility to TV shows and help attract viewers who might not have otherwise given the show a chance. Yet, the company must weigh the cost of hiring big-name stars against the potential benefits. The decision to cast high-profile actors will impact the show’s production budget, which can lead to increased pressure on the show to perform in terms of viewership.


In conclusion, Netflix is a successful TV company that has leveraged technology to disrupt the traditional TV industry. However, its success lies in its ability to answer the critical LA questions related to rights, show types, commissioning models, and stars. By answering these questions, Netflix can continue to produce new and appealing content that will attract and retain viewers. Ultimately, whether or not Netflix is thought of as a TV company or a tech company is of secondary importance. What matters most is the TV.

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