Origin of ordinary things: Netflix

Netflix introduced its streaming model in 2010. / Net photo.

Thanks to Netflix movie lovers can find movies and TV series streaming in one place. According to sites like fortune.com, its services alone constitute about 15% of all the world’s internet bandwidth.

Netflix was first founded in August of 1997, according to interestingenginnering.com, by two serial entrepreneurs Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings. The company started out in Scotts Valley, California and has grown to become the world’s leading internet entertainment platform.

When it first opened, Netflix was purely a website-based movie rental services, allowing people to rent DVDs online.

Users would put in their orders and receive a DVD in the post. When they’d finished with them, they simply posted them back to Netflix. 

Today it has over 151 million paid subscribers in over 190 countries around the world. It offers a wide range of TV series, documentaries, and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages.

The founders would eventually introduce a streaming model in 2010 that we all know today. 

Netflix’s model would directly challenge the market dominance of rental giants like Blockbuster at the time. As we know today, Blockbuster could not compete and filed for bankruptcy in 2010.  

But this never needed to happen. Years before, Blockbuster could have actually partnered or even bought Netflix out.

At the time Netflix was founded, Marc was working as a marketing director for Hasting’s company Pure Atria. He was also the co-founder of MicroWarhouse (a computer mail-order company).

By all accounts, the pair came up with the idea for Netflix during a commute between their homes in Santa Cruz and Pure Atria’s HQ in Sunnyvale prior to Pure Atria’s acquisition and merger. Inspired by Amazon’s e-commerce model, the pair explored various portable items they could use to sell over the internet in a similar fashion.

After initially considering and rejecting VHS cassettes, they settled on DVDs as the perfect product. After testing their idea by posting one to their homes in Santa Cruz, and it arriving in perfect condition, they decided the time was right to break into the market with their new revolutionary model.

In 2007, according to Britannica.com, Netflix began offering subscribers the option to stream some of its movies and television shows directly to their homes through the Internet. For most subscription plans, the streaming service was unlimited. Netflix subsequently partnered with manufacturers of various consumer electronics products, including video game consoles and Blu-ray Disc players, in order to enable its videos to be streamed over an Internet connection to those devices. In 2010 Netflix introduced a streaming-only plan that offered unlimited streaming service but no DVDs. Netflix then expanded beyond the United States by offering the streaming-only plan in Canada in 2010, in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2011, and in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Scandinavia in 2012.

Since 2016, its streaming service has been available worldwide. 


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