In Netflix contest, rivals join forces on global buzz

Netflix Prize entrants themselves kept the conversation simmering for three years.

Netflix Prize entrants themselves kept the conversation simmering for three years

Netflix announced the winner of its three-year, $1 million contest to improve its movie recommendations yesterday to much media coverage and social media hoopla. It also announced another contest, Netflix Prize 2, that is sure to generate buzz in the future.

The secret to its communications success with the original Netflix Prize, does not lie in frenzied pitching by Netflix communications staff, but in the novel idea behind the contest, the large number of people who participated, and the large sum at stake. Only two communications professionals worked on the contest, and most of the “getting the word out” happened on its own.

What does a communications strategy that encourages such a hands-off approach look like? Netflix relies on the following three principles when planning its communications, says Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications:

Netflix certainly makes it look easy.

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