How to build a household name: Netflix

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In 1997, friends Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph sent a DVD in the mail to see if it would survive the trip intact. It did – and the idea for Netflix took a step closer to reality.

Just five years later, the company went public, selling shares at $1, and it wasn’t long before its movie-by-mail service had five million subscribers. For many businesses, this would be the peak of its success, but for Netflix, it was only the beginning.

The introduction of the company’s streaming service in 2007 would accelerate the process of Netflix becoming the global behemoth we know today. Within just two years of going fully digital, subscriber numbers surpassed 10 million.

Over the years that followed, Netflix would launch in more than 190 countries, from the UK and Ireland in 2012 to France, Germany and Switzerland in 2014, and the UAE and many more in 2016. In the time since, the EMEA region would overtake the US and Canada as the company’s largest, with over 77 million subscribers.

Netflix is not just a business success story. It is a cultural phenomenon. Now an integral part of the world’s film, television and streaming industries, it produces content in more than 20 languages and has won multiple Oscars, Emmys and more for its original productions.

A truly global operation, the streaming giant has offices in the US, UK, Canada, France, Brazil, India, Italy, Japan, Poland and South Korea, as well as several production hubs around the world.

Today, Netflix is ranked 115th in the Fortune 500 and is the second-largest entertainment and media company in the world by market cap behind the Walt Disney Company.

With more than 230 million people worldwide subscribing to its digital streaming service, the company generates revenues in excess of USD 30bn per year.

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