What is Netflix? Their Past, Present & Future

Reed Hastings CEO of NetflixNetflix, a company established in 1997 by co-founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, has absolutely changed the way that people rent movies and watch television. With solid roots in the physical realm of “rent online with delivery by mail DVD service”, Netflix has grown into the number one provider of digital home streaming services in the world. Proud of the fact that there are more than 36 million subscribers to its streaming service, Netflix never seems to tire of finding ways to improve its features. Here is a look at how the company has evolved over its decade and a half of commitment to convenient entertainment.

Before Netflix, people who wished to rent a movie for the evening had to leave the comfort of their homes, run to the local movie rental store and then return home. This process, depending on distance traveled could take an hour or longer. Meanwhile, things at home like family time and dinners with friends were left undone or cut short. Netflix changed all that.

Netflix LibraryCustomers who were willing to plan ahead could have access to a vast library of movies and television shows, all right at the tip of their fingers. They could schedule entertainment weeks in advance and in about one tenth the time it took them before to achieve one evening’s worth of entertainment. Just load the movies they wished to see into their Queue and voila, movies would show up like clockwork in their mailboxes. So long as a customer returned the movies regularly, the next available movie on the list would be shipped out the door. And what if you forgot to return a movie? It happens. Netflix didn’t care. They would simply withhold future shipments until the DVD was either returned or purchased, usually at a reasonable price. It can be said that Netflix single handedly ended late fees and customers returned the favor by signing up for the service in droves. And they did all this at a nominal price everyone could afford. It was brilliant.

A decade after its founding and Netflix once again made great advancements in customer convenience by allowing customers to stream movies and television series straight to their laptop screens. A short year later and Netflix was utilizing the gaming market to further expand their clientele and make the home streaming process even more convenient by moving the viewing from the computer screen to the television screen. Another short year later and people are watching movies on their smartphones and other mobile devices, using Netflix. Even now, when customers bring up the Netflix menu on their televisions, the evidence of what should be the company motto “there are always ways to improve” can be found. From Netflix Original Series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey to the incredible and evolving functionality of the menus and innovative ways the system has of introducing new shows to clients (often the suggestions are accurate), Netflix shows its unique ability to adapt in a world madly in love with instant gratification.

Netflix through the post

It has not all been a cakewalk for Netflix. Customers have become angry with the company in the past, most notably when they wanted to split the company into two separate companies; Netflix retaining the streaming customers and “some other company name that has been mentally blocked by most subscribers” retaining the mail delivery service. Couch potatoes the world over stood up and, as always, Netflix listened by ditching those plans. Instead, customers agreed to pay separately for mail delivery service and online streaming, but only to one company. Netflix apologized for briefly forgetting its main selling feature to its clients: convenience. All was forgiven, and Netflix continues to be the leading service of online streaming companies, forever striving to better their quality in service and customer satisfaction.

Kasey Moore

Kasey Moore is the founder and editor-in-chief of What's on Netflix. Kasey launched the site in 2013 after growing frustration with finding content on Netflix. He has an in depth understanding of the release cycles for Netflix and has developed tools to make navigating Netflix easier. Resides in Norwich in the UK.