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Netflix almost released a streaming box in 2007, but killed it at the last second

Netflix Streaming Box Canceled

It’s 2015 and Netflix is the unequivocal king of content when it comes to watching TV shows and movies online. Hulu is making a strong case for itself, but when you think of Internet TV, you think of Netflix. But eight years ago, Netflix almost made a decision that would have put in on an entirely different course, a course which may have doomed the company.

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Earlier this week, former Netflix global marketing director Barry Enderwick published a comprehensive blog post on LinkedIn with the title: “How to Copy Netflix.” In the post, he tells us that the one thing everyone wants to know is how the unprecedented success of Netflix can be replicated by other companies.

He breaks his advice down into several sections, but one stands out more than the others. In a section titled “Killing the Netflix Box,” Enderwick sheds light on the branded streaming device that the company was planning to release in 2007:

“In 2007, we were so far down the path with the Netflix branded streaming device that we were shooting promotional videos for it to have on the site. It was a done deal. Then the hand brake was pulled — and hard.”

From the outset, Netflix knew that it wanted to partner with major brands to get the service into as many homes as possible, so after weighing the pros and cons, the company decided to pull the plug on the set-top box, even after spending a great deal of money and time developing it. Killing the box was preferable to killing the strategy.

“In strategy, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do,” writes Enderwick. “And it is always a good idea to gut-check decisions along the way. Even if it comes at a short term-pain, reversing a decision to align to the long-term strategy for the bigger payoff is the right thing to do.”

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.