Netflix in the New Era

Stranger Things, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, each of these shows have one thing in common: they are all Netflix originals. Netflix, over the course of twenty years, has expanded from a small DVD rental service to a billion dollar corporation churning out hit after hit. But how did Netflix get to this point? What does it take to create a so-called “Netflix Original”?


Netflix began in the late 90’s as a small DVD rental service founded by Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings. Netflix originally only allowed customers to rent DVDs by mail, as Hastings was quoted saying he was fined $40 for not returning his rental of Apollo 13 back to Blockbuster. Netflix began with thirty employees and 925 DVDs available to rent. In 2011, Netflix switched from mailing DVDs to streaming online.


Since Netflix has become a streaming service, it not only has popular cable shows available to watch, but has also begun producing what are called “Netflix Originals”. A “Netflix Original” is content that is produced, co-produced, or distributed by Netflix exclusively on their services. The first of these projects, the famed political drama House of Cards, came out in 2013. Originally approached by HBO, Showtime, and AMC, Netflix took on the project hoping it would launch their company. Another famous project Netflix has produced is Orange in the New Black, the network’s most watched original series. Netflix’s process is different because Netflix pays for their original shows differently than other TV and cable companies. When they sign a project, Netflix provides the money upfront and usually orders two seasons of the series immediately.


Netflix has been slowly rising to empire-status since the early 2000s. It became the main reason DVD players started showing up in people’s homes. Netflix has and will continue to surprise and delight the public with original and innovative content, in addition to streaming other creators’ content.