Netflix is one of our favorite companies here at MakeUseOf. Almost every one of the staff is a subscriber. Even following the service as closely as we do, there is a lot we didn’t know about Netflix, so I set out to find 10 really interesting facts…
1. Netflix Has as Many Subscribers as…
Netflix is big, and we mean really big. The service has 81 million subscribers worldwide at the time of writin. That’s the same as the population of Germany.
Netflix and Germany have the same ‘population’. Judging by the Sandler films Netflix is making, the Germans have a better sense of humour.
— Harry Guinness (@HarryGuinness) July 21, 2016
Thankfully, it’s not just Germans who use Netflix. If it was, there probably wouldn’t be a comedy section.
2. Netflix Is a Big Deal In the U.S.
The country with the most Netflix subscribers is, unsurprisingly, the United States. 47 million people there have accounts. That’s about 15% of the total population.
Netflix has a total of 83 million subscribers in total, of which 47 million are U.S. subscribers and 36 million are international #andchill
— Steve Fedorko (@fatherdaddy) July 19, 2016
Even more impressively, that’s just the number of accounts. About two-thirds of Netflix users share their accounts with other people. While some of these are couples with joint accounts, a fair amount are serial sharers who give their login out to more than three other people.
3. Sharing Your Netflix Password May Be Illegal
Even though millions of people obviously do it, a recent ruling has potentially made it illegal to share your Netflix password.
I've been living the thug life since Netflix password sharing became illegal
— K (@KarlAlden) July 19, 2016
David Nosal was convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse act for using his previous employer’s database to help his own competing business. He got access by borrowing a former co-worker’s login details. In his dissenting opinion, Judge Reinhardt argued that millions of people could end up being labeled criminals if this ruling is upheld.
4. Netflix Hogs the Internet
Kim Kardashian might have tried to break the internet with that racy photograph, but Netflix comes far closer to actually achieving this dubious honor. During its peak hours, Netflix accounts for more than a third of internet traffic. That’s a crazy number by anyone’s standards.
"Kim Kardashian: Break the Internet wasn't so much a headline as it was a prophecy." ~my grandkid's textbooks pic.twitter.com/P01RWoS3Zu
— Blake (@blakeaparker) July 18, 2016
If a bug was to hit Netflix, causing all of its viewers to download content at their full bandwidth, the internet across North America would be in trouble.
5. Auto-Play Works
As soon as one episode finishes on Netflix, the next episode starts to play. No faffing about changing disks or selecting a new media file, it’s just there. It’s clearly having the intended effect: 70% of Netflix customers binge-watched shows, racking up an average of five episodes in each sitting.
There’s even a small number of super-dedicated watchers who view a show in one sitting from the second it’s available. They start watching at midnight California time, when Netflix launches its new content, and don’t stop watching until they finish a particular show. These people should not be approached in public under any circumstances.
— Harry Guinness (@HarryGuinness) August 25, 2015
6. Netflix Makes Its Own Most Popular Content
Netflix has gone all-in on developing its own content and it has paid off for the company, and then some. That’s because Netflix has produced its most-watched movies and TV shows.
So what movie has Netflix subscribers watched more than any other, at least in a 30-day period? According to Cinema Blend it’s the Adam Sandler comedy, The Ridiculous Six. Thus proving that “most popular” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”.
Over on the TV side of things, one of those great Netflix Originals takes the crown. Which one in particular just depends on how you slice up the numbers. Daredevil takes it if you just take into account the most recent season with almost 11% of viewers watching at least one episode in the first 30 days. If you take into account all seasons, House of Cards, the company’s first foray into original programming, still holds the crown.
7. Five of the Best 50 Shows Are Made by Netflix
Netflix doesn’t just produce popular shows, it also produces really good ones. Five of IMDb’s 50 Top Rated TV Shows of All Time are made by Netflix.
- At 16, there’s Stranger Things.
- At 32, there’s House of Cards.
- At 33, there’s Arrested Development.
- At 40, there’s Narcos.
- At 45, there’s Making a Murderer.
It’s amazing that Netflix is able to hold its own against classics like Seinfeld and Only Fools and Horses, let alone beat them.
8. Netflix Runs on Amazon Web Services
Although Netflix started out running its own server infrastructure, the company recently finished migrating to Amazon Web Services. Now, Amazon and Netflix’ competing original shows are hosted side-by-side on the same servers.
9. Netflix Customers Don’t Like Change
Netflix has been around since the 1990s, but it’s only been the international streaming media powerhouse we know and love since 2007. Even in this short while, Netflix customers have gotten very used to the way things are.
In 2011, Netflix announced it was going to spin its DVD-by-mail service off into a separate service called Qwikster. The only thing that was due to change was that people would have to visit a different website.
This is something you’d think would slip by mostly unremarked; people who went to the Netflix homepage instead of Qwikster would click the link that would obviously be placed prominently in the banner and go about their business as usual. But, no, Netflix customers were outraged. And it ended up costing the company 800,000 subscribers.
10. Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix
In what will go down as one of the biggest missed business opportunities of the last decade, Blockbuster turned down an opportunity to buy the then-fledgling Netflix for a cool $50 million. Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO, proposed that they would handle Blockbusters’ online business while Blockbuster took Netflix offline.
It wasn’t to be, however. When Netflix approached Blockbuster the company still wasn’t turning a profit. According to Variety, then Blockbuster CEO, John Antioco, “lacked the vision to see where the homevideo industry was going and the changing shifts in the business under his feet”.
Today, Netflix is worth more than $30 billion, and Blockbuster is, well, no more. That’s got to hurt.
Netflix is a fascinating company with a really interesting history. Do you know any cool facts that we have missed off of this list? If so, please let us know in the comments below.