Netflix is a service that allows viewers to watch films and televisions shows. They have two options for doing this. One option is a DVD rental service, where one can receive DVDs through the mail. This is based on a monthly subscription. There are no late fees; one can keep the DVDs as long as he or she wants, but can only have a certain number at a time (this depends on the cost of the monthly subscription). The other option is an internet streaming video service, called “Watch Instantly.” This allows users to view content by streaming it directly to their computer or other compatible device.
The company was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1997, after Hastings had to pay a large sum for late fees upon returning a movie. He decided that the traditional movie rental system could be improved. Netflix launched their website in 1998, using a more traditional model than the one they currently use. With this model, viewers had to pay to rent individual DVDs, and there were late fees. During late 1999 to early 2000, Netflix made the transition to the current system, based on a monthly flat fee rather than paying for each DVD. Throughout the years, they have continued to grow, and they now have millions of subscribers. This has also dealt a heavy blow to traditional stores such as Blockbuster.
The ease and convenience of this system has also caused viewers to select more diverse movies to watch. Whereas eighty percent of rentals from traditional stores come from 200 movies, eighty percent of Netflix rentals come from 2,000 movies. Additionally, Netflix has created hits out of movies that did not perform spectacularly at the box office. A big part of this change has been through CineMatch, Netflix's recommendation system, which provides viewers with seventy percent of the films they view on Netflix. Netflix and other such new media services will continue to change the industry, making it less focused solely on blockbuster movies, as well as change audience preferences, enabling them to enjoy a greater variety of films.