The Crazy Numbers Behind Netflix’s 20 Years of Success


A well-timed pivot led the way to monetary success and critical acclaim.


6 min read


It’s been an exciting few years for Netflix. On Aug. 29, 2017, it celebrated 20 years since its founding. And April 14, 2008 saw another milestone — two decades since it officially opened for business.

As the company grew, onetime competitors in the space — Blockbuster (RIP), Redbox and even Walmart — faded from view. Mobile devices became more powerful, better equipping viewers to watch anywhere.

The company started with a little more than 900 movie titles and has evolved since into a algorithm-driven powerhouse with more than 70,000 different “microgenres,” from international rom-coms to dramas with strong female leads.

By 2007, the company had launched its streaming video service, which allowed it to expand beyond its initial premise of DVD rentals by mail, charting the path for its current pop cultural dominance, even putting tech behemoths including Amazon on notice.

Related: 12 Documentaries on Netflix That Will Make You Smarter About Business

In 2017, Netflix brought in more than $11 billion in revenue and had its first full year of turning a profit in international markets. Back in the states, the company now has 125 million subscribers. 

Netflix isn’t just profiting monetarily, but creatively, particularly in the world of TV. In recent months, prolific showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy were brought into the fold with a $100 million four-year and a $300 million five-year deal respectively.

The streaming service also has some big expectations for 2018. Netflix plans to spend between $7 billion and $8 billion on content — a $1 billion to $2 billion increase from 2017 — and is planning to release 80 original films, leaping ahead of movie studio competitors like Sony and Disney.  

On its 20th anniversary, here’s a look at Netflix by the numbers.



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