Creator / Netflix

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The former DVD rental service that killed DVD rentals.

Netflix is a service that began in 1999 as a subscription DVD rental service where movies were ordered via the Internet and delivered by the U.S. Postal Service in the United States. Starting in 2007, they began to offer movies via streaming video over the Internet as a value-added service for their subscribers. However, over the next 3-4 years, as DVD sales began to fade and Internet access became faster and cheaper, Netflix quickly evolved and now has become the prominent entertainment streaming service. Its available content includes both television shows and movies.

The service can be viewed via most computer platforms (even certain Linux distros) as well as nearly all internet-connected game consoles, most Blu-ray-Disc players, smartphones, tablets, TiVo, smart televisions, and set-top streaming boxes such as Apple TV and Roku. If it has an Internet connection, you can probably watch Netflix on it.

On the television front, Netflix primarily competes with Hulu for reruns; Where Netflix's library of reruns is extensive, both services in the past couple of years have made exclusivity deals for certain shows (Friends for Netflix, and Seinfeld for Hulu) to keep them off other services, and Hulu has become a serious competitor when it comes to streaming recently-aired shows (being partially owned by three of the major networks helps.)

In the past few years, Netflix has made a heavy push towards original, exclusive content, with great success. Several of its new shows (including House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, the Arrested Development revival, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) have been massive hits (at least in the demographics that count), and House of Cards became the first direct-to-streaming show to win Emmy Awards. Netflix's success in this regard has legitimized the idea of online distribution of original TV shows outside of cable or network television, with competitors like Hulu, Amazon, and Yahoo! also now having success with their own programming. (And all three have since revived or rescued shows from cancellation, as Netflix did for Arrested Development.)

Building on that success, Netflix in 2013 inked an exclusive content deal with Dreamworks Animation for original animated shows, and in 2014 made a similar deal with Marvel Comics for original Super Hero series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. These four shows, like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will have its own Avengers-style team up event with The Defenders. In April 2016, a series starring The Punisher (a major character in the second season of Daredevil) was announced. Also, due to the increased popularity of anime where in the streaming market it competes primarily with online service CrunchyRoll, Netflix aims to be an anime producer also, using its pact with Dreamworks to greenlight a new Voltron series, Voltron: Legendary Defender, which began streaming in 2016.

Netflix is so popular, as much as one-third of all internet traffic in the US during the hours of 7 pm to 1 am is Netflix streaming.

And if you want a measure of how important the business has become internationally, take Canada's example: its telecommunications authority, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the CRTC, the analog to the US' FCC) has a yearly conference on the state of television in Canada. In 2009, Netflix was only mentioned twice. By 2014, its burgeoning media presence was first & foremost in nearly all of that year's presentations, and it climaxed with Netflix's representative on the hot seat arguing with the main regulators.

Also to that point, as Netflix continued to expand to other countries, in 2011, Netflix announced that they wouldn't become available in New Zealand, due to the low speed of an average Internet connection and unrealistic data quotas. After a huge Internet Backdraft from New Zealanders pointing out that many of the same bandwidth limitations existed in the US, they ate their words and launched in the country shortly after. By 2014, Netflix was available in 40 countries.

In late 2015, Netflix announced a plan to launch in all remaining countries worldwide, rolling out in phases through 2016, culminating in a full worldwide release at the end of 2016. This was then promptly thrown out the window with a surprise announcement during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show that the service has been simultaneously launched in all remaining countries worldwide, immediately, on January 7th 2016. As of that announcement, only three countries and one territorynote  do not have access to the service. However, despite the move being receiving standing ovation from people worldwide, it has received threats of blockages from the Malaysian government (although they've stood down after a rather huge backlash from the people) and one ISP in Indonesia has blocked the service for allegedly carrying family-unfriendly shows.

Netflix had at one point been a distributor of films, via its Red Envelope (a play off of Netflix's signature DVD mailers) subsidiary, but then closed the company in 2008 as it didn't want to compete with the same film studios that provided their content. However, in recent years, Netflix has gotten back into the film game, buying the rights for high-profile films like The Square and Beasts of No Nation. In that arena, they have found a big competitor in Amazon, who have also branched into original programming and films for its streaming service, with both companies becoming serious players in a short time, and even going so far as to be involved in several bidding wars at the 2016 Sundance Festival.

Netflix also at one time was going to distribute its own set-top box, after seeing the success Apple was beginning to have with its AppleTV, however, again the company decided they didn't want to compete against companies who would be ultimately creating equipment that Netflix would want to be installed on. So, in 2007, the project (nicknamed 'Project Griffin') was spun off into its own company - Roku - whose success has made its brandname arguably synonymous with set-top boxes in general, as that market expanded. And the move allowed Netflix to be included in more electronics as it hoped, as it is 'baked in' to nearly all new Blu-Ray players and smart televisions.

Netflix's original and exclusive works include (available worldwide unless noted otherwise):


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