The Rise of Netflix

From Humble Beginnings

It’s interesting to think back to a time when Netflix was simply a movie rental company that sent you DVDs in the mail.  You could order from a catalog of titles and it would appear in your mailbox for your viewing pleasure.  You’d then return it to them, regardless of how long it took you to watch, and you’d receive another in its place.  There were no late fees and, at time when brick-and-mortar video stores were much more common, this was a relief to those of us who were too lazy to go return the movies on time.

Once Netflix started its online streaming service, television viewing was on a crash-course for revolution.  No one could have predicted the wild success that the company has enjoyed since, and its new shows are outshining most, if not all, cable companies and even broadcast networks.

Rising Stars

Providing a huge catalog of movies for its subscribers for a small monthly fee is what made Netflix the force it is today.  Not only could you rent movies which were difficult to find in a traditional video store, but you could also watch movies at home via your internet connection and a computer.

Eventually the streaming service continued growing, and people started paying attention.  Hollywood blockbusters became available online, alongside classics that we hadn’t seen in years.  TV shows that we watched growing up could be streamed at our leisure, as well as current shows.  With the streaming service the term, “binge-watching” was brought into the mainstream vocabulary.

Independent Network

Beginning with the runaway hit House of Cards, Netflix was now producing original content in the same way that networks and cable channels did.  Netflix had become a TV network-that-wasn’t-a-network and continued producing shows.  Orange is the New Black was another critical and fan success, along with shows like Lillyhammer, Marco Polo and the comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

On top of the original programming, Netflix resurrected another cult favorite: Arrested Development.  The show ran from 2003 until 2006 and gained critical success as well as a number of awards and nominations.  Netflix then licensed the show and released them on their streaming service, and producer Brian Grazer has recently said that there will be another season of the show.

Most recently, Netflix debuted Marvel’s Daredevil, which currently holds a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  The show brings a darker edgier version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to fans.  Daredevil dares to push the envelope for violence in the Marvel Universe, as it isn’t restricted by broadcast network standards, or the PG-13 restrictions placed on the movies.

Not content to stand still, Netflix will be bringing more Marvel to our screens with shows involving Comic heroes Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.  If that isn’t enough geek for you, it will be followed by a Defenders miniseries.

Stormy Weather

It hasn’t all been roses for Netflix.  With success comes challenge, and there have been some that have given Netflix something of a headache.

In September, 2013, the Canadian CRTC demanded that Netflix hand over user data to verify that Canadian content was being provided to subscribers as per Canadian regulations.  Netflix refused to hand over the data, and the CRTC response was that Netflix would be ignored in future talks about television in Canada.

In another public battle in the war over net neutrality, Comcast, an American ISP, demanded that Netflix pay for access in order to provide proper streaming service to its customers.  Netflix fought back, but Comcast began throttling streams from Netflix.  A settlement was reached, with Netflix paying an undisclosed sum.

The Future is Bright

Netflix is going nowhere anytime soon, and that’s great news for subscribers.  The company only continues to grow.  With anticipated new shows on the horizon, such as the Marvel shows and Sense8, the network’s popularity will only increase.

It was just revealed that Netflix has now overtaken CBS in market capitalization.  Seeing has Netflix is smaller than any of the other major conglomerates, this is an astounding feat.  It shows that the company’s management is doing something right.

So, it’s time to get the popcorn and sit back on the couch.  Binge-watching is here to stay, and Netflix is aiming to have the best content when and where you want it.  That’s not bad for the little movie rental company that could.

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