The history of Netflix is a huge part of the history of digital home entertainment. Netflix is the largest online digital content streaming service in the world, bringing film, games, and entertainment to subscribers in nearly two hundred countries. Twenty years after it was started, Netflix continues to be at the forefront of innovation in delivering home entertainment. Beginning as a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix started streaming films and games online in 2007. Since 2013, Netflix produces its own content as well with shows like House of Cards.
The history of Netflix is one of constant innovation, merging new technology and business models to meet the demand for home entertainment. The company has shaped market trends with such services as streaming videos, unlimited access for subscribers, and original content. Netflix has shaped the way we watch movies, play games, and binge-watch our favorite TV shows from the comfort of our homes.
What is Netflix?
Since 1998, Netflix has been many things. Originally an online DVD rental by mail service, Netflix evolved into streaming films and games. More recently, original content produced by Netflix has had a successful reception. The history of Netflix is one of innovation, using new technologies like online streaming to bring subscribers the latest films and entertainment in the comfort of their homes.
Netflix began as an alternative to video rental stores, offering video and then DVD rentals by mail instead. Apart from the convenience of just coming home to find the latest releases waiting on your doorstep for your viewing pleasure, Netflix very early on eliminated fines for late returns. This set them apart from the competition instantly and began to build a loyal customer base from the start.
The History of Netflix
Back in the old days, people watched films on videos and DVDs. These could be rented from stores like Blockbuster, but there was one major problem. The videos or DVDs had to be returned by the deadline, or the customer had to pay a fine. There used to be a mad dash to get to the video store drop off box before midnight to avoid paying the fine - rain, snow, or dangerous weather notwithstanding.
Get Me to the Video Dropbox on Time
In 1998, Netflix entered the video rental business and brought with it a completely new way of renting the latest videos or DVDs of old classics. The service was started by software engineers Mark Rudolf and Reed Hastings and offered subscribers unlimited access to DVD rentals by mail. In those days, DVDs were a new format, and Netflix used the US Postal Service for delivery and returns with no late fees.
Busy parents and rushed professionals across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief and the nightmare video drop runs became a thing of the past. This convenient service soon caught on and the number of Netflix subscribers grew from 700,000 in 2002 to 3.6 million in 2005, in just three short years. It offered some serious competition to Blockbuster video stores, which rented films, games, and TV box sets.
Entertainment Goes Online
All Netflix content was available through an online catalog, which made it easier for subscribers to find what they were looking for whether it was the latest release or forgotten old classics. The online catalog also made it possible for Netflix to make recommendations based on customer preferences. This system of film curation came to be called Cinematch and helped subscribers to discover new films while easing the demand for rentals of the newest releases.
By 2007, Netflix took another step that merged new technology with consumer demand and began streaming movies over the internet. The idea of online movie streaming has been suggested before, but the older internet technology could not provide the necessary bandwidth and speed. Now subscribers could access Netflix on various types of TVs, games consoles, and handheld mobile devices.
Here, There, and Everywhere
Until 2010, Netflix was available only in the US. The higher internet speeds and cloud infrastructure made it possible to expand service to Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. At present, Netflix is available in over 190 countries.
Partnering with Netflix through content licensing deals also allowed the television and cable stations to expand their audiences. This meant that viewers could catch up on their favorite shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad without having to wait for reruns. This is just one of the many ways in which Netflix has shaped our contemporary culture by making it possible to binge-watch favorite TV shows.
Netflix Original Content
The next step in the history of Netflix is original content. Until 2103, the service delivered films, games and other content produced by other TV and cable stations. That was the year that the first Netflix original show, the edgy and intelligent House of Cards, made its debut. Its success was followed by other Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Glow, Orange Is The New Black, and The Crown.
By 2017, the number of subscribers had surged to 117 million in 2017, driven by interest in the original content. Netflix films and TV shows have won many awards, including the 2017 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for Icarus at the 90th Academy Awards. Netflix also won the most nominations at the 2018 Emmy Awards, beating HBO. The current challenge for Netflix is to produce content that will appeal to a growing international audience.
The Rise of Netflix
The history of Netflix is an intriguing story of the merging of the latest technology with new business models. Netflix was among the pioneers in terms of offering subscribers unlimited access to content, whether it was the original DVD-by-mail service or online streaming. The company is known for its long-term strategy and innovative use of the latest technology.
Netflix has shaped digital home entertainment in our time, influencing not only how we watch movies, play games, or binge-watch TV shows but also what we watch. It has stayed ahead of the curve in merging customer preferences for watching for the latest entrainment at home with new technology. Netflix allows subscribers to watch what they want, when they want.
Pioneering the Subscription Model
The business model of unlimited-access subscriptions now used by many popular online services like Apple Music and Spotify, was pioneered by Netflix. It allowed the company to grow a sustainable base of subscribers, avoiding the rapid growth and dot-com crash that often takes a toll on early tech startups. Along with the movie recommendation system called Cinematch, Netflix created a base of dedicated subscribers.
Cinematch also gave the company a unique insight into customer preferences, used to decide on new content acquisition and eventually production. The subscription model also allowed Netflix to eliminate late fees, making the company an effective competitor to Blockbuster. The Netflix model chose not to punish late returns but instead provided incentives for returns in the form of new rentals.
Partnering with New Technology
Besides content development, Netflix has focused on building the technological infrastructure to maintain the competitive edge and stay ahead of the curve of innovation across multiple fronts. The company has also partnered with Microsoft and Sony’s PlayStation to develop apps and software for their gaming platforms.
Netflix strategies and business planning have been noticed for recognizing and integrating the potential of new technology. In 2008, the company transitioned to the Cloud, a process completed in 2015. Investing in a robust cloud infrastructure has supported the expansion of the service to over 190 countries.
How Netflix has Changed Home Entertainment
The history of Netflix demonstrates how the company has shaped and transformed the world of home entertainment. Using innovative business models and the latest technology, Netflix has anticipated customer preferences for the convenience of being able to access their favorite tv shows, films, and games from the comfort of their own homes. It has also shaped viewer tastes through curation services and original content.
The subscription service also makes it unnecessary for Netflix to tailor content to advertising preferences. Netflix has taken advantage of new technology such as improved internet speeds, use of mobile devices, and cloud hosting to bring entertainment to people when and where they want it. The company has not only stayed ahead of market trends but also shaped them. Digital home entertainment as we know it would be unthinkable without Netflix.
The history of Netflix is inseparable from the history of digital home entertainment. The streaming service has many firsts and innovations to its credit, from streaming videos and TV shows to the unlimited subscription model. Netflix makes entertainment both accessible and convenient, letting viewers watch their favorite movies and shows any time they want. Content curation and the production of original content help to shape viewers tastes as well. Having conquered the US market, the service is now focused on international audiences and the kinds of content that will appeal to them.
We hope this history of Netflix article has informed you and demonstrated the high value and innovation Netflix has brought to the entertainment industry in the past eleven years.