The microwave beeps are confused with the alarm that marks 8:00 pm It’s Sunday night, and the smell of crispetas begins to mark what will be the rest of the evening. Calmly -more than emotion- he opens the package of said delicacy and sits on his sofa, surrounded by blankets and the occasional pillow.

Dim light around you makes your TV screen stand out and automatically turns your living room into a movie theater. That’s when he takes control, selects a movie and in a matter of seconds the characteristic “tudum” reaches his ears.

If when reading this you automatically thought of Netflix, one of the most popular streaming companies today, it is precisely because this platform has managed to position itself at a very high point.

With more than 220,000,000 subscribers and accumulated income of 31.615 million dollarsis one of the most successful platforms to date, despite the fact that there are others that occasionally manage to nip on its heels.

However, it is inevitable to think of the name that owns the famous “tudum” when talking about a series or movie. online, since Netflix was a pioneer in the transmission services of this type of product on the Internet. However, how was it possible to consolidate as such a large emporium? Who thought that this type of business would be a great idea? And, above all, why was it so successful?

Netflix reached 232.5 million subscribers during the first quarter of 2023.

A $40 fine?

Every great character has a great story to tell. The same happens with businesses that become international benchmarks.

One day an American man named Reed Hastings, decided to rent from Blockbuster, an American company that specialized in movie rentals, the famous Ron Howard tape, ‘Apollo 13’. After seeing it in the comfort of his home, he left it on his table, in order to return it a few days later.

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However, those days became six weeks and for this reason a fine was generated that increased each time. It wasn’t until one day, before going to the gym, that he received a letter from the company stating that he had to pay $40 for the delay.

At that time, each day of delay carried a monetary penalty.

According to the versions that were on the internet, at that time there perhaps he wondered: “Why not create a movie delivery service?”because from this story it is supposed that the idea of ​​sending and renting films by address was born.

However, the magic of this version faded when Marc Randolph, co-founder of the platform and a colleague of Hastings, assured that it had only been a story to attract attention.

According to what he tells in his book ‘That will never work’, what really happened was that, in early 1997, Reed was the CEO of the company they worked for and Marc was its vice president of corporate marketing.

Hastings and Randolph came up with the idea of ​​renting DVDs by mail.

Because they were at risk of losing their jobs as a result of a merger with another company, they decided to put their minds together and work together on an idea to get ahead.

At that time, DVDs were just replacing VHS. They weren’t very popular all over the world, but Marc was very clear that they would be the future.

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With this in mind, he and his colleague went into the store, bought a CD, and mailed it to Reed’s house a few blocks out of town.

When the package arrived, the object was intact. No scratches or breaks, it was fully functional. This is how the first Netflix shipment was born, a venture that initially rented movies by mail.

Bless you, internet

In 1998 Netflix began as a subscription-based service with no expiration dates or late fees and unlimited access to content for a very low price for the time. In fact, on April 14 of that year they launched a website specializing in the service.

While it’s true that I didn’t have titles to watch online yet, they certainly were the first pines to get there.

Launch of the first version of www.netflix.com

The boom was so great that a year later they already had more than three thousand titles and 239,000 subscribers. Everything is going well, as it seemed that the business was going from strength to strength, since the system they used was innovative: when the user finished watching the movie, they simply returned it by mail, and Netflix sent the next one on their wish list.

However, they say that to recognize success you have to have ups and downs along the way. As responsibilities expanded, so did troubles with copyright and distribution rights.

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There’s no way I’m just sitting here while you explain why I’m so mean.

That’s when they hit their first bump due to a failed investor launch. and a promotional deal with Sony that went very, very wrong. In the book, Randolph tells of how he was demoted and all he could say was, “There’s no way I’m going to sit here while you explain why I’m so bad.”

After this, the figures began to fall, as did the hopes of the two visionaries.

The day Blockbuster shot himself in the foot

Among so many stories about the famous platform, there is one that particularly draws attention due to the actors involved.

It was a cold September morning. The year 2000 was running faster than ever, and Hastings and Randolph felt the pressure of clock hands on their shoulders. Time did not give truce -like the crisis-, which is why they needed a lifeguard that could get them out of the depths.

It was then that a call arrived that they had been waiting for months: that of John Antioco, former CEO of Blockbuster.

Blockbuster was originally founded by David Cook in 1985 as a home video rental store.

In the midst of the panic, the acquisition by Blockbuster seemed like the perfect solution to keep its precious Netflix on its feet. With this in mind, the higher-ups at Netflix had been asking for a meeting with the leadership of Blockbuster for several months. Finally, they received the news that Blockbuster wanted to have a meeting with them at 11:30 in the morning the next day in Dallas, a city that was about 12 hours from California.

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It should be noted that, in addition to the problem with Sony, The company was in the dot com bubble crisis, which was a time when everyone was on the new economy bus.

John Antioco was struggling not to laugh.

This is key, because finally, when Hastings offered an alliance with Blockbuster, the CEO could only hold back his laughter. “As soon as I saw it, I knew what was happening: John Antioco was struggling not to laugh,” Randolph stated in his book.Years later, while Netflix was succeeding on the internet, Blockbuster was declaring bankruptcy.

Between ups and downs the story is just beginning

But it seems that these two visionaries always needed only a year to recover from the hardest blows. In 2001 the platform reached one million subscribers, and then, in 2002, it went public.

The company entered at a sale price of $1 per share.

From then on it was all profit. In 2006 the number of subscribers rises to 5 million. However, at that time only Reed remained in the company, since two years earlier Marc Randolph left Netflix and sold his shares.

(Read here: Netflix premiered ‘Kill Boksoon’: Korean cinema’s tribute to Tarantino).

But its real boom came in 2007, when Netflix shifted its focus to streaming. In 2010, in fact, he gave an iconic conference in which he presented the platform on mobile devices, thus starting the revolution of watching series and movies online.

In turn, in this same year, Blockbuster announced its financial crisis to finally close in 2014, the year by which Netflix already had more than 50 million subscribers around the world.

From there, Netflix has not stopped growing. The company has invested billions of dollars in the production of original content, which has allowed it to create some of the most successful series and movies in recent years. It has even managed to expand in more than 190 countries and 21 languages.

Still, it seems that the end is not near. With his experiences and innovative productions, this monster full of creativity and vision, who rose from the ashes more than once, continues to search for a way to stay as a one of the most important companies in the entertainment industry, which, in retrospect, was responsible for forever changing the way movies and series are consumed.

He was in charge of forever changing Sunday nights in which now, with a bowl full of popcorn, some blankets and good company, watching Netflix becomes the indispensable plan.

Laura Natalia Bohorquez Roncancio

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