How Netflix grew from DVD service to a Hollywood disruptor with over 200 million subscribers — that is now losing customers
1997: Netflix is founded by Reed Hastings, who is currently the co-CEO, and Marc Randolph, its first CEO.
1998: Netflix launches a DVD-by-mail rental service. That same year, Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos offers to buy the company.
1999: Netflix begins offering a subscription-based model, in which customers could choose movies to rent-by-mail for a monthly fee.
2002: Netflix goes public. Randolph exits the company soon after.
2007: Netflix launches a video streaming service, free for its already-existing DVD-rental subscribers.
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.
2013: Netflix ramps up its original programming with “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black,” which gain critical acclaim and Emmys recognition (the former is the first streaming original to win an Emmy).
2015: Netflix releases its first original feature film, “Beasts of No Nation.”
2017: Netflix surpasses 100 million subscribers, a crucial milestone, 10 years after it launched its streaming option.
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.
2020: Netflix names Ted Sarandos, its creative chief, as co-CEO with Hastings. The two have known each other since 1999.
January, 2021: Netflix announces that it surpassed 200 million subscribers, another milestone.
September, 2021: Netflix wins the most Emmys for the first time, and nabs best-series wins for the first time with “The Crown” (drama) and “The Queen’s Gambit” (limited).
October, 2021: Netflix faces its most public controversy yet, after some employees speak out against Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, “The Closer,” in which he makes comments many criticized as transphobic.
November, 2021: Netflix launches its first video games around the world, free as part of a user’s subscription.
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.