This viewing platform is part of our daily life and has entered our vocabulary completely: Netflix. And in one year and three confinements, we have spent time watching these series, films or documentaries offered online! But where does Netflix come from? David Castello-Lopes goes back, in the program Historically Vôtre, to the origins of this streaming juggernaut.
“Do you remember the video clubs? The joy when new things arrived, late penalties to pay and even sidelong glances thrown at the porn department that we were too young to go to … well in the United States , from the end of the 2000s, in the United States, Netflix was one of them.
A video club 2.0
But it was a very special video club: in the first ten years of its existence, Netflix rented DVDs by mail order. Concretely, after a subscription of 10 to 20 dollars per month, it was enough to classify the desired films and Netflix sent them by post. Once the viewing was over, the subscriber returned the DVDs by mail with the envelope already provided. Netflix would then ship the next DVD on the list, and so on.
For $ 10, only one DVD was provided at a time, but it was possible to purchase a more expensive subscription. The advantages over a video club were obvious: you could keep the DVD for as long as you wanted and rent as much as you wanted in a month.
Who invented Netflix?
Like almost all of the great Internet innovations, Netflix comes from California. This online video club was created in 1997 by Mark Randolph and Reed Hastings, already Silicon Valley pundits at the time. Mark Randolph had just sold his business for $ 850 million and he wanted to invest. The two entrepreneurs were inspired by Amazon, which was successful with online book sales.
Why is Netflix called that?
Net is, of course, the internet. But then Flix? It’s a contraction of the slang “Flicks” meaning movies. The ambition of the two bosses was therefore clear: to become the Amazon of films.
At first, Netflix didn’t work very well because Americans didn’t have DVD players. And ironically, Netflix was losing so much money that they offered the Blockbuster chain to buy them back for $ 50 million… Since then, Blockbuster has disappeared and Netflix has become an empire.
In 2007, the company launched a streaming service. Today, it ranks first among viewing platforms in the world with more than 200 million subscribers “.