Netflix is a digital technology and media company and company that put streaming on the map. Begun as an easy way to get DVDs through the mail, Netflix ended the era begun by Blockbuster and ushered in a new age with the advent of streaming media. Today, the company provides a complete range of digitized media content and its services are available through most types of media devices. Netflix, Inc. is headquartered in Los Gatos, California, and went public in 2002.
Netflix was founded on August 29, 1997, by partners Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. The two met after their previous projects merged together and came up with the idea while carpooling to work. The idea was to find a category of goods akin to Amazon’s dominance with books and make them available over the Internet in a similar fashion.
The pair had already discounted the idea of renting VHS tapes over the mail when they heard about DVDs which first became available in 1997. After a test run to be sure a DVD could be mailed and delivered intact, the pair jumped into the multi-billion dollar movie rental business head first. Along the way, the company will make many innovations including a tool that makes personalized movie suggestions for each member. In 2006 membership will top 5 million then later, in 2007, the company will enter the streaming market where it will quickly dominate too.
Netflix entered the original content market in 2012 with the release of Hemlock Grove. Hemlock Grove is a supernatural drama that was followed up by Orange Is The New Black. Orange Is The New Black was a groundbreaking series for viewers and led to a series of other successes including Stranger Things. In March 2021 Netflix Studios was the most nominated at the Academy Awards.
Today the company has approximately 222 million paid members in 190 countries and offers services in more than 62 languages. Subscribers can choose from a variety of plans but all include unlimited access to all the content on the site. The difference in plans is in how many screens or devices can be used at a single time which allows subscription-sharing among family and friends.
The company has also moved on from a pure-play on rentals to making its own content and has a growing portfolio of brands to its credit. At one point in the company’s evolution, Jeff Bezos offered to acquire the company for Amazon for about $15 million but Hastings turned him down. The company was valued at a market cap of $99.42 BILLION in late 2022.