Netflix is an American multinational video streaming platform and production company. Cofounded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1997, Netflix began as a DVD-by-mail subscription service in which users could rent movies and TV shows and have the DVDs mailed to their homes. The company relied heavily on this model until 2007, when it introduced streaming video, which allows users to instantly view movies and TV shows online whenever they want. Streaming video increased Netflix's popularity substantially, allowing the company to begin producing original content in 2013. In 2016, Netflix became accessible to viewers worldwide. Netflix has been a publicly traded company since its IPO in 2002.
Netflix was created by Hastings and Randolph in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar video rental stores. The duo launched Netflix.com in 1998, allowing users to select DVDs on the internet and receive them by mail some days later. A year later, Netflix introduced a subscription service, which allowed users to choose an unlimited number of DVDs. Users would receive DVDs in the mail one at a time, based on their set queue, and they would receive their next movie once they mailed their current DVD back to Netflix. The company also added a personalized recommendation system based on a user's likes of past movies.
Netflix made its initial public offering in 2002 at a selling price of $1 a share under the NASDAQ ticker NFLX. Membership continued to increase significantly in the years following, hitting one million users in 2003 and five million users in 2006. 2007 would prove to be a significant year in Netflix's timeline, with the company's introduction of streaming. Streaming allowed Netflix users to instantly watch programming over the internet, eliminating the need to wait for movies to arrive by mail. Netflix partnered with multiple consumer electronics brands in the years after, making their streaming platform available on smart TVs, blu-ray players, and video game consoles. The company's membership surpassed 10 million in 2010 and became available in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In 2011, Netflix separated its DVD mailing service into a separate service, DVD.netflix.com, in order to prioritize streaming content.
After reaching 25 million in 2012, Netflix made its foray into producing original video programming, releasing a standup special by comedian Bill Burr and releasing original series such as House of Cards. After releasing its first original film, Beasts of No Nation, in 2015, programming quickly became a key part of Netflix's business model. Netflix began heavily releasing original movies and TV shows throughout the 2010s, with some projects winning Academy Awards and Emmys. Membership continuously grew during this time period, surpassing over 200 million users by 2021.
Hastings continues to lead Netflix as its president and chairman. He has served as CEO since the company's inception. In 2020, Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer since 2000, became co-CEO along with Hastings. Other members of Netflix's executive team include chief operating & product officer Gregory K. Peters and chief financial officer Spencer Adam Neumann.
Netflix has participated in a total of thirteen funding rounds since 1997, raising a total of $121.9 billion in funding. Since its IPO in 2002, Netflix has mostly participated in Post-IPO debt financing. The company's most recent post-IPO debt round was in 2018, with Netflix raising $2.7 million.
101 Facts About Netflix
September 6, 2017