In 1997, Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix, had to pay $40 in late fees after he failed to return a movie on time. He and Marc Randolph got together and hatched a plan to create “the Amazon.com of something.” Because of that $40 bill, they chose DVDs. At least, that is the story Hasting likes to tell. Randolph, who left Netflix in 2002, said that was just a story to show how much better they are than their employees. They only chose DVDs for their “Amazon.com of something” because they were not going to go out of style, and they thought it would hold up in the mail. Reed and Marc proceeded to mail a DVD down the street to see if it survived. Once it did, Netflix was born. There are several versions of the start of Netflix.
Regardless of how Netflix really started, we love them for it! And we love what they did to the entertainment industry.
Let’s take a look at their timeline:
1997 – Netflix is founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph.
1998 – Website is launched with 925 movies available to rent.
1999 – Raises $30 million in venture capital.
Launches the monthly subscription.
2000 – Now offers personalized movie recommendations.
Makes a deal with Warner Home Video and Columbia Tri-Star that involves revenue sharing.
2002 – Goes public for $15 per share.
Marc Randolph leaves Netflix.
2003 – 1 million subscribers and 15 thousand titles.
2005 – 4.2 million subscribers.
2007 – Introduces streaming.
Delivers its billionth DVD.
2008 – Now available on Xbox 360, Blu-ray disc players, and TV set-top boxes.
2009 – Now available for streaming on the PS3, internet connected TVs and other internet connected devices.
2010 – Expands to Canada.
Now available on Apple products, Nintendo Wii, and other internet connected devices.
2011 – Expands throughout Latin American and the Caribbean.
2012 – Expands to Europe, starting with the UK, Ireland, and in the Nordic Counties.
Massive Christmas Eve Outage.
2013 – House of Cards is released.
The “Profiles” feature is released.
Launches Orange is the New Black.
Expands to the Netherlands.
2014 – Announces 574% growth over the last 5 years.
Takes part in the “Internet Slowdown Day” protest.
Expands to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
2015 – Expands to Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
2016 – Starts to offer originals for kids.
Rolls out offline playback feature.
Partners with Univision to broadcast the first season of Narcos
Netflix is officially worldwide.
2017 – 20 year anniversary!
Wins first Oscar with The White Helmets for Best Documentary Short Subject
2018 – Wins Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Icarus
Now for some questions
Why did Marc Randolph leave?
Marc knows what he is good at. He is good at starting businesses and getting them through the early stages. He says that he isn’t as good at running businesses and so he stepped away. He knew it was in good hands with Reed and he wanted to go do something he was really good at again. They still have a great relationship and if Reed came to Marc with another idea, he would jump on that and they would go back into business together again.
Why did 53 people watch A Christmas Prince every day for 18 days?
We really wish we could answer this one for you, but it wasn’t THAT good. It does show you how closely they look at their data to make the customer experience the best they can.
Why do we all fall under their spell?
This is such a simple thing that many companies can’t figure out. Listen to your customers. Netflix listens and tries to fix and adjust accordingly. Think about all the other companies you absolutely love, do they all do this? We are willing to bet they do.
Why are they called Netflix?
They didn’t want to be DVD-by-mail forever, because they knew they would eventually be a streaming service primarily. They had to think of something else. Net is from internet and Flix is from flicks. It is pretty simple, they just put two derivatives together.
In conclusion, most people love Netflix. There are a few people starting to slip away but not quite enough to mention it. They have gone through a lot and are a well-oiled machine that knows how to work the word-of-mouth marketing world.