Of all the factors that explain Netflix’s success in upending the media industry, the least understood may be just how little it operates like a traditional media company.
At most studios and TV networks, decisions about whether to make a show or a movie can be made only by a handful of people atop the company, namely the president, a programming chief and a few other senior executives. But Netflix allows many people on its team—including people two rungs down from programming chief Ted Sarandos—to greenlight a new series or buy the streaming rights to a TV show. That sort of autonomy—known internally as “Freedom and Responsibility”— is replicated across other departments like marketing.
To give a clearer idea of how Netflix operates, we’ve put together for the first time an organizational chart (see above) of the management team with 80 names.