Netflix has an estimated 6 million Australian subscribers, but they share a common grievance – and they’re not alone in their grievances.
Netflix is a streaming giant with a staggering 221.6 million subscribers worldwide and an estimated value of $176 billion.
But the 6 million Australian subscribers share a common gripe – the lack of titles on offer Down Under compared to overseas.
US users, for example, have a much larger selection of titles to choose from, with over 5500 titles available in America as opposed to our paltry 601.
But Aussies aren’t alone with this complaint — it’s a universal one, with enforcement of copyright and licensing laws, as well as geographic licensing restrictions, differing from country to country, meaning everyone gets something different.
Netflix’s humble beginnings
This August marks Netflix’s 25th anniversary.
However, as is often the case, Netflix’s origins and rise to prominence read like a big-budget Hollywood-sponsored blockbuster.
After all, you can’t break with the entire film tradition without pissing off a few people in the process.
Here are the SparkNotes of their quarter-century story before inevitably creating a Netflix Original to airbrush the story.
Legend has it that co-founder (and by all accounts a terrible boss) Reed Hastings came up with the idea of Netflix after being fined $40 for returning a copy of Netflix Apollo 13 late at his local video store.
Of course, accounts of its origin story vary, with co-founder and former CEO Marc Randolph telling the far less sexy but more believable story that the seeds of the idea that would become Netflix were first sown on a bunch of ride-sharing companies out of Silicon Valley , where Randolph’s Atria company merged with Hastings’ first company, Pure Software.
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After much thought and planning, the two Netflixs officially launched in 1998 as a DVD rental business with 30 employees and 925 titles to choose from.
Amazon owner Jeff Bezos quickly developed a cult following and attempted to acquire the company in 1999 for a low offer of $14 million to $16 million.
Randolph and Hastings later attempted to sell the company to Blockbuster after the dot-com crash of 2000.
The pair were instantly laughed at with their asking price of $50 million at a meeting that has since gone down in entrepreneurial legend.
Netflix would go public 24 months later, selling 0.55 million common shares at $15.
Blockbuster, on the other hand, would file for bankruptcy in 2011.
Streaming, Netflix Originals and global dominance
In 2007, Netflix began offering its subscribers the option to stream some of its movies and TV shows directly to their homes over the Internet.
It was the basis for what would become the norm around the world as the company abandoned physical DVDs entirely by 2010.
By 2011, the company had expanded into Latin America and Canada, and by 2016 was essentially a global giant.
As the Netflix web continued to expand overseas, the prospect of owning original content quickly went from being a fanciful idea to an inevitable prospect.
The first title to exclusively premiere (in the US) on the service was the Norwegian-American crime drama Lilyhammer, which first aired on January 25, 2012.
However, the show was simulcast on Norwegian channel NRK1, which many feel disqualifies it as a true Netflix original.
The cinematic canon contains a political drama instead house of cards as a true Netflix Original debut, with the show’s “Cinematic TV” formula proving a huge success and paving the way for future world-dominating original series.
By far the most-watched Netflix Original series is last year’s Squid Gamewhich boasts a staggering 1.6 billion hours of combined subscriber watch time, more than doubling second place Bridgerton’s 656 million hours.