3 Things Education Can Learn About AI From Netflix

When it comes to content management, both Netflix and educational publishers know how difficult it is to organize their data. Both handle massive amounts of data every day, and each is under pressure to deliver the right content to the right user.

However, Netflix stands apart from most educational publishers, thanks in part to their massive adoption of AI (artificial intelligence).

Netflix made a major investment in AI to build its “personalized recommendations” feature. It’s likely that you’re already familiar with this technology. It evaluates TV shows that you’ve watched and enjoyed, then scans Netflix’s database to find similar content that you might like. These new shows are then presented to you in a clean design that makes it easy to find a new show to watch.

Netflix estimates that this AI initiative saved the company an average of $1 billion (USD) every single year in lost subscriptions. The media producer also estimates that roughly 80% of what an average consumer watches originates as a recommendation, not from searching. In short, AI enabled Netflix to strike the right balance between giving consumers the freedom to choose what they want while also reducing the overwhelming “choice stress” many experienced.

So what can Netflix teach content managers who work in the publishing industry? A lot, actually. In this blog post, we’ll detail how Netflix’s content recommendation engine benefited from AI and three lessons content managers should take away from their success.


There’s a lot to be learned from Netflix regarding their AI adoption. Here’s the list of the three lessons that content managers should take away from the media mogul’s story:

1. Adopt early, go big

McKinsey discovered that when it comes to AI adoption, companies need to go big early on. AI is not an easy installation, and it does cost a reasonable amount to implement it. But thinking of artificial intelligence as a long-term profit-boosting investment rather than a cost-saving short-term solution is crucial to successful adoption.

Netflix has been very successful with their AI investment because they went big. It took a leap of faith to justify spending millions of dollars and countless hours developing bespoke business tools that would boost their profitability. In the end, they weren’t even sure that it would pay off.

The benefits of AI have been enormous for Netflix, and the company is better equipped to continue adopting AI solutions now that the infrastructure is in place. Their systems are now already “AI-friendly,” so they will more easily adapt to technology changes in the future.

Publishers no longer have to wait for AI to start modernizing their content. Starting with a small proof of concept to tag metadata of educational content is possible, thus delaying AI implementation should no longer be an option.

> Learn how our client, Malmberg, meta-tagged their education content accurately <

A 2017 McKinsey report discovered that successful early adopters of AI experience 3%-15% higher earnings than their competitors. Graphic source: McKinsey.

2: Keep investments close to the end user’s needs

Even though publishers and Netflix are in radically different industries, there is still a lesson in Netflix’s adoption of AI: keep investments focused on the end user experience. Netflix invested their money into personalized recommendations so that they would boost customer satisfaction. By helping users watch their favorite content online, they propelled themselves forward as the leading online-streaming service.

For content managers who work for educational publishers, the end users are usually

students and school districts — both of which are now, arguably, relying more on technology than traditional textbooks. The demand for smart content management solutions continues to rise, yet publishers still hold off on investing AI technology that would serve their end users best. By making investments with the needs of end users in mind, publishers can make smarter choices about where they put their time and energy.

3. Develop a strategic plan for AI

Netflix didn’t walk into AI implementation blindly. They did years of research on their consumers, corporate process, and more before they made serious investments. The massive payoffs were nice, but they also expected it.

Publishers need to do the same when it comes to their AI adoption. A strategic plan is critical to convincing C-level executives of the long-term value of AI as well as dissuade fears about adoption.

Meeting the technology needs of students and schools comes down to smart content management. As the foundation for learning, organized educational content can be repurposed, synthesized, and implemented in extraordinary new ways.


The benefits of AI doesn’t need to be limited to Netflix’s content recommendation model. By studying how Netflix uses AI and applying it respectively to publishers’ content needs, publishers will see dramatic returns on investments that AI brings.


With 360AI, you’re well on your way to a faster and more agile content management system that will automate your metadata tagging with better accuracy.

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This blog originally appeared on www.edia.nl and has been altered for Medium. Click here to see the full post.