In just a few years of operation, Netflix has already achieved tremendous success. The company enjoys an extremely high level of brand loyalty, as its video service offerings have quickly transformed the way Americans, and the rest of the world, consume movies and television.

The firm's most recent success is House of Cards, a television series produced by Netflix and based on a British series, directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. Netflix made all 13 episodes in the program's first season available via its streaming video service simultaneously. In a few weeks, the show has been viewed by millions of Netflix subscribers.

Netflix's achievement is obviously due to a wide variety of factors. As The New York Times recently reported, one of the most significant of these is the company's leveraging of big data analytics solutions.

Netflix and big data
As the news source reported, Netflix has announced that House of Cards is currently the most streamed piece of content in 41 countries, including the United States. This represents a huge level of exposure, as Netflix has more than 30 million subscribers worldwide and accounts for approximately one-third of all internet downloads during peak periods, according to networking provider Sandvine.

According to The New York Times, Netflix used its big data analytics technology to determine that House of Cards would be successful well before greenlighting the show.

GigaOM has noted that Netflix's data collection and analytics systems can determine not only which movies and television shows are watched, but also how many of these programs are viewed from beginning to end, how often they are paused, how often they are searched for, how frequently they are mentioned on social media channels and much more.

"Because we have a direct relationship with consumers, we know what people like to watch and that helps us understand how big the interest is going to be for a given show," said Jonathan Friedland, Netflix's chief communications officer, the news source reported. "It gave us some confidence that we could find an audience for a show like 'House of Cards.'"

The New York Times noted that Netflix determined that the popularity of the original British version of the program, as well David Fincher and Kevin Spacey, and this data indicated that a project combining all three factors would almost certainly appeal to viewers.

Further guaranteeing this success, Netflix created a variety of trailers designed to appeal to different segments of its audience.

"Fans of Mr. Spacey saw trailers featuring him, women watching 'Thelma and Louise' saw trailers featuring the show's female characters and serious film buffs saw trailers that reflected Mr. Fincher's touch," the news source reported.

Achieving effective analytics
As the success of House of Cards has demonstrated, big data analytics can yield major dividends. However, achieving this outcome requires not only bold thinking, but also sufficient technological resources. In the case of Netflix, the company needed to collect a tremendous amount of data from a huge range of sources to have sufficient raw data for its analytics projects.

This is a common challenge faced by firms eager to leverage analytics. It can be extremely difficult to distribute big data throughout an organization if legacy systems are in place, as these resources are not robust enough to handle the burden posed by such large data sets.

That is why firms hoping to leverage big data analytics should invest in advanced change data capture (CDC) solutions. With CDC, information collected by an individual or group within an organization at one point will be immediately visible to everyone else within the company. Everyone will therefore have access to the most up-to-date data available, which vastly improves the potential effectiveness of analytics systems.