Convenience is everything these days. From two-day delivery from Amazon to nearly instant food delivery from businesses like Grubhub, anything that saves us time or money or effort is worth the cost. And that’s precisely why the dedicated Netflix button that’s on seemingly every remote control is so fascinating.
Why Make a Dedicated Button?
In 2011, Netflix announced its forthcoming appearance on remote controls for TVs and set-top boxes from several major electronics companies. In the press release, Netflix stated that “streaming from Netflix on TVs will soon be as easy as one click of a remote control,” promising convenience to the streaming service’s customers. No longer was there a need to go through a dozen steps to get the service up and running—simply press the button to launch the Netflix app.
The release also stated that the Netflix button would be “situated prominently on remote controls that operate certain new Blu-ray disc players from a variety of companies including Best Buy’s in-house Dynex brand, Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba. Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba will also place the Netflix one-click button on remote controls for new Internet-connected TVs. Remote controls for the Boxee, Iomega and Roku set-top boxes will also feature the Netflix one-click remote.”
So, the announcement wasn’t just one of a simple button—it was the announcement of a sweeping partnership of the biggest electronics companies to put a couple of brand names into the homes of consumers before they ever knew it. No one ever asks to see the remote control that accompanies a TV at the store; rather, it’s something that just comes with it that you’re probably going to use for five years or even a decade.
That’s not to call out Netflix specifically, though. Tons of other companies have also vied for the coveted product placement over the years—like Hulu, YouTube, Crackle, Sling TV, and others). Netflix was simply the first to do so. That’s exactly why the Netflix button made a splash when it first appeared in 2011, and one of many reasons why the streaming video service is a well-embedded household name today.