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How Does Netflix Work?

Over the last 20 years, Netflix has almost singlehandedly revolutionized the way we watch movies and TV shows. Without Netflix, we would not have so much media on demand. Binge watching would not exist and you would still have to wait a week for a new episode. We would not have “Netflix and chill!” Here is everything you need to know about Netflix.

The company started in 1997 as an online mail service. Instead of going to a rental store, having to return the video, and dealing with huge late fees if you wanted to hang onto the film a little longer, Netflix came right to your door. Better yet, you could hang onto the film for as long as you wanted. VHS tapes were far too expensive to ship so Netflix hopped on a new way of sharing media, the DVD. Netflix continued to grow until they became strong competition for Blockbuster, the largest video rental store. They even offered themselves to be bought by Blockbuster for $50 million, but were turned down. This turned out to be a mistake for Blockbuster.

In 2007, Netflix introduced its online streaming service which completely changed the game. Why go out to a rental store when you can watch something instantly at home? The model revolutionized media and by 2009 had over 12,000 shows and movies at the ready. Netflix did not stop there. Instead of just offering films and shows, they wanted to make their own. In 2013, they released their first original show, House of Cards, which was a hit. Then came Orange is the New Black, another hit. Slowly, Netflix took over the industry and last month, they became the largest entertainment/media company in the world by market cap. In the process, Netflix put competition like Blockbuster out of business and spurred copycats like Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video.

To date, Netflix is up to 193 million paid subscribers worldwide, with 73 million coming from the US. They are available in almost all countries. As of July, Netflix offers 1,940 television shows and 3,781 movies ready to stream. They have made or purchased over 1,500 originals and won 43 Emmys with 225 nominations. Their AI will help you curate what to watch based on your tastes. To watch Netflix on one device at a time, the cost is $8.99 a month. For two screens, it’s $12.99 a month. The number doubles to four screens at a time for $15.99 a month.