A Look at Netflix
About the Company
Netflix is a subscription based service offering on demand video streaming and by-mail rental of movies and TV shows. Started in 1997 as a mail-only DVD rental service, the company now rents DVDs and Blu Rays and streams millions of shows and movies online every day. The company currently has more than 20 million members in the U.S. and Canada and has support for more than 200 devices.
Unlike online TV services like Hulu and YouTube, it can be argued that Netflix doesn’t offer anything current, as in the past week, or even the past few months. In most cases the content on Netflix is available in stores or will be soon. But what Netflix lacks in timeliness, it makes up for in volume. The service boasts hundreds of thousands of movies and TV shows to watch.
The company has struck deals with several studios and companies to provide content to their users faster. For example Starz Entertainment signed a deal in 2008 to bring thousands of movies and TV shows to the Watch Instantly section of the service. On the flip side, some studios have tried to block the speed at which Netflix can rent or show their movies, believing that the delay will help in DVD and Blu Ray sales.
Still, Netflix has been highly successful and popular as it has grown, sending out thousands of movies every day and remaining one of the top visited media websites.
About the Service
When it started, Netflix only offered by-mail movie rentals, but each year it’s media streaming efforts grow. There are several plans available going from one DVD out at a time to eight DVDs out at a time. They also recently added an unlimited streaming plan that does not include DVDs at all, but lets users stream as much content from the site as they want.
The service has a large database of movies that users can put into a queue. The movies are sent out in the order that they’re put in when available. Netflix has boasted about its recommendation algorithm in the past, even holding contests to see if anyone can design one smarter. The program recommends movies based on what a customer has watched and reviewed previously.
Though it’s a popular rental service for movies, as an alternative to cable TV, Netflix might leave some wanting. Most shows don’t end up on the service until well after they’ve aired, usually about the time the shows are released on DVD and sold in stores. Those looking for the traditional channel-surfing experience won’t find it in Netflix, but they will find a wealth of content at relatively low prices.