It’s only fitting that a platform of visual storytelling has several origin stories circulating in the news.
Netflix may have started when CEO Reed Hastings was charged $40 by Blockbuster as a late fee on the DVD “Apollo 13”. Or the company may have started when Hastings and co-founder Marc Randolph wanted to create “the Amazon.com of something” and decided it would be DVDs.
One piece of the startup story that doesn’t change is Hastings’ entrepreneurial drive. He first founded Pure Software in 1991. When Pure Software went public in 1995, Hastings earned $750 million and co-founded Netflix with Randolph in 1997.
@Netflix started as a DVD shipping service, since DVDs were new technology at the time, but the company leaders always knew the future would be internet-based. In 2000, Hastings offered to sell 49% of Netflix to Blockbuster to form a partnership of online and DVD rentals, but Blockbuster declined.
By 2005, Netflix was beating out Blockbuster with 4.5 million subscribers and counting. Meanwhile, Hastings and his family were living in Rome while Hastings commuted to Silicon Valley two weeks of every month. Streaming content was introduced in 2007, and by 2010 it had 16 million subscribers. 2011 briefly saw the halting of DVD rentals, but the service was reinstated and is still active today. Then in 2013, Netflix revolutionized the entertainment industry by premiering its first original series, “House of Cards”. The show was nominated for nine and won three Primetime Emmy awards.
Several other hit shows have come from Netflix’s pioneering original series, adding to the over 100 million hours of content made available on the streaming service and redefining how the world consumes and creates television shows and movies in the modern age.
Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos, California, with offices around the globe. The company first offered international streaming in 2010 and is now available in over 190 countries. Netflix corporate is considered to be extremely forward-thinking, offering unlimited vacation to employees and unlimited maternity and paternity leave.
Forbes estimated Hastings’ net worth is near $2 billion, while Netflix itself is in over $2B in debt, mostly from raising funds for creating original content and expanding internationally, as Netflix is a top producer of TV and movies. Competition comes from Amazon Prime, HBO Go and Hulu, but Netflix continues to reign supreme.
Whatever the real origin story is, the world has sure taken to the service. As of October 2018, Netflix has 137 million total subscribers worldwide. Netflix is so much a part of the world’s daily lives, it’s hard to imagine how people used to consumer media before Netflix introduced online streaming from a library of films and television programs.