It started out as a scrappy mail-order film rental firm but today the company literally looms over Hollywood. When you drive down the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles most of the huge advertising hoardings that used to trumpet films and TV shows from every studio and network now tout offerings from just one entertainment giant: Netflix.
And this is exactly what its founders were planning when they launched the business in the ’90s – it was never their intention to remain a mail-order DVD rental firm for long.
Even back then Reed Hastings and his business partner, Marc Randolph, were looking to a 24/7, binge-viewing future where fast internet would allow customers to stream content on demand. It wasn’t yet possible but the pair could see more clearly than anyone that it was coming.