Netflix’s History, From DVDs to Embattled Hollywood Disrupter

2002: Netflix goes public. Randolph exits the company soon after.


Marc Randolph

“As you get older, if you’re lucky, you realize two things: what you like, but also what you’re good at,” Randolph told Forbes in 2019 on why he left


. “The answer to both of them [for me] is early-stage companies. I like the chaos. I like the fact that you’re working on hundreds of things at once.”

2012: Netflix debuts “Lilyhammer,” its first original series. The show was originally broadcast in Norway, but Netflix acquired the rights. It laid the foundation for Netflix’s binge-release model and its surge in original programming, including expanding into international markets.

lilyhammer netflix



“This was the first time we streamed a show across multiple countries and languages … and it worked,” Netflix’s current coCEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a blog post in February.

“It worked because it was a deeply local story that we could share with the world,” Sarandos added.

2018: Netflix wins its first feature-film Oscar, for best documentary feature for “Icarus.” Later this year, it releases “Roma,” which becomes Netflix’s first best-picture nominee the following year.

icarus netflix



has yet to nab the Oscars’ top prize, though, despite elaborate campaign spending. Apple TV+ won best picture this year for “CODA,” becoming the first


platform to do so.

April, 2022: Netflix reports that it lost subscribers for the first time in a decade in the first quarter of 2022. It lost 200,000 subscribers, and said it was expecting to lose 2 million more in Q2.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Getty Images for The New Yorker

Aside from the economic strains of the coronavirus pandemic,


blamed the subscriber loss partly on password sharing. It said that it estimated that an additional 100 million people on top of its 220 million subscribers use Netflix with a shared password. 

It also acknowledged increased competition. Over the last few years, new


services like Disney+,


, Paramount+, and more entered the space on top of already existing rivals like


and Prime Video.

May and June, 2022: Netflix conducts layoffs amid slowing revenue growth.

Netflix sign in August 2020.

AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images


laid off 150 staffers in May, and then 300 more this month.

“While we continue to invest significantly in the business, we made these adjustments so that our costs are growing in line with our slower revenue growth,” a Netflix spokesperson said of the most recent round of layoffs.


June, 2022: Hastings confirms that an ad-supported tier is coming to Netflix.

Reed Hastings attends a panel during Netflix's 'See What's Next' event at Villa Miani on April 18, 2018 in Rome, Italy.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images for Netflix

Hastings confirmed at Cannes Lions this month that


plans to roll out an ad-supported plan, something it has pushed back against in the past, as the company faces slowing revenue growth and loses subscribers. It’s something that other streamers have embraced, like


and Paramount+. Disney+, its biggest rival, is also planning to launch an ad-supported option.

“We’ve left a big customer segment off the table, which is people who say: ‘Hey, Netflix is too expensive for me and I don’t mind advertising,'” Hastings said. 

Netflix’s standard HD plan (its most popular plan) is $15.49 per month after the company recently raised prices. It makes it the most expensive


service, topping HBO Max’s $14.99 ad-free plan.

The New York Times reported last month that the ad-supported plan could roll out as early as the end of this year.

Despite recent turmoil, Netflix still intends to spend $17 billion on content this year, according to The New York Times.

Reed Hastings


REUTERS/ Mike Cassese

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