It all began back in 1999 as DVD movie rentals began to move from local brick and mortar shops to internet rental services. Netflix founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph’s new online subscription service offered subscribers movie and television entertainment titles from Netflix’s Website; the DVDs were mailed to customers along with prepaid return envelopes from more than 100 distribution centers located around the U.S. Like many other early forays into ecommerce, many predicted the new idea faced too many challenges to achieve sustainability over time. But unlike other early entrants into ecommerce, Netflix seized upon advances in streaming technologies and went on to dominate the streaming video marketplace.
At the end of 2021, Netflix boasted that it had 213 million global members and an estimated 35 percent of adult subscribers in the United States. The company reported net revenue of over $24.9 billion in 2020, with estimated operating profits of $4.5 billion. Since the introduction of its digital on-demand streaming option in 2007, Netflix’s revenue growth is up 2400 percent. To say that Netflix is the dominate home entertainment streaming service may be an inarguable understatement.
While some are predicting a natural cooling-off in the company’s growth and dominance over competitors going forward, Netflix has never indicated an intentional R&R period was in its strategy for the future. The company shocked the streaming community by introducing original productions of movie and serial performances several years ago, a move that reset the bar for competitors and diminished its reliance on the established movie and television industry for content. Since the release of House of Cards Netflix has led the streaming industry in original products with an amazing inventory of award-winning comedies, dramas and documentaries. The 2020 release of Emily in Paris earned Netflix its first Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Comedy Series.”
The network has an established a reputation for offering some of the best sci-fi and fantasy titles like; Stranger Things, The Haunting and The Umbrella Academy, and it appears that the network will continue to push the genres envelope with the 2022 release of 18 fantasy and sci-fi shows. Other shows returning this season include; Locke & Key, Alice in Borderland, and the superhero saga The Umbrella Academy. New series coming in 2022 include an animated effort based on Hasbro Inc.’s HAS and The Midnight Club, a production based on a horror book written by Christopher Pike.
Netflix has always been recognized as a great value by its loyal followers. Subscription sharing, the ability to share a membership to multiple family and friends at no extra costs, sets its service fees aside from other competitors. But the company announced an increase in the price of its plans this month. “We’re updating our prices so that we can continue to offer a wide variety of quality entertainment options,” says a Netflix spokesperson. “As always we offer a range of plans so members can pick a price that works for their budget.”
Like many of the end-of-the-world prognosticators of the past, some industry analysts are persistent in predicting a continued softening of Netflix’s dominance and popularity going forward. But just as the sun arose following the anticipated doomsday, it is just as likely that the streaming industry leader will continue to rise, adapt and adjust to a dynamic marketplace into the foreseeable future.