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Netflix Celebrates 25 Years: Looking Back on the Major Moments in the Streamer’s History

Stephen Silver

On Monday, Netflix marks its 25th anniversary. From starting as a mail-order DVD rental company to being the largest streaming service in the world, Netflix has changed tremendously over the past quarter century. As it evolved to meet new customer and technological needs, the industry that it was pioneering changed with it. While Netflix still offers DVD rentals, the streaming industry as we know it would not exist without the disruptions and innovations that the company brought to the entertainment landscape.

The company celebrated the milestone by posting a video on social media about its history:

In honor of today’s momentous occasion, we are looking back at some of the most significant moments in Netflix’s 25-year history:

  • Aug. 29, 1997: Netflix is founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Los Gatos, Calif. Hastings is still the company’s co-CEO, shepherding the service from up-start disruptor to global leader.

Things have certainly changed for Netflix since it launched in 1997.

  • May 29, 2002: Netflix becomes a public company.

  • April 4, 2006: Netflix sues big-box rival Blockbuster, claiming patent infringement for its DVD-by-mail service. The suit is settled in 2007.

  • January 2007: Netflix launches its streaming service, revolutionizing the entire industry.

  • February 2007: Netflix sends its one billionth DVD.

  • August 2010: Netflix launches an iOS app.

  • January 2011: The first Netflix buttons appear on remote controls.

  • September 2011: Netflix announces plans to spin off its DVD service as “Qwikster,” with the streaming service retaining the “Netflix” name. The plans are abandoned the following month.

  • January 2012: Netflix expands to Europe.

  • February 2012: “Lillyhammer,” starring Steven Van Zandt, becomes the first Netflix original series.

  • 2013: Netflix debuts a wave of high-profile original series, including “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Hemlock Grove,” and a new season of the canceled network series “Arrested Development.”

  • September 2013: Netflix wins its first Emmy award; Outstanding Directing and Casting for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series, all for “House of Cards.”

House of Cards

February 1, 2013

Set in present day Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Frank Underwood, a ruthless and cunning politician, and his wife Claire who will stop at nothing to conquer everything. This wicked political drama penetrates the shadowy world of greed, sex and corruption in modern D.C.

  • November 2013: Netflix and Marvel announce plans for a series of original shows, including “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” and “Luke Cage.”

  • July 2016: “Stranger Things” debuts on Netflix.

Stranger Things

July 15, 2016

When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl.

  • February 2017: Netflix wins its first Academy Award, when “The White Helmets” wins the Oscar for Best Documentary Short.

  • October 2017: Netflix debuts the “Skip Intro” Button.

  • May 21, 2018: Netflix announces a production deal with former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

  • Nov.12, 2019: Disney+ launches, beginning a new era of competition for Netflix.

  • Dec. 31, 2019: The 1990s hit sitcom “Friends” leaves Netflix, after years as one of its most popular catalog hits. It arrived on HBO Max in 2020.

  • March 2020: The start of the COVID-19 pandemic kicks off a unique era for Netflix, with the quarantine period bringing viewership to record levels, and sending the company’s stock and profits soaring.

  • March 20, 2020: “Tiger King” arrives on Netflix and emerges as the signature television hit of the quarantine era.

Tiger King

March 20, 2020

A zoo owner spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in this true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.

  • July 16, 2020: Ted Sarandos is named co-CEO of Netflix, joining Hastings. Sarandos originally joined Netflix in 2000 and has been the key force behind the creative side of the company’s business. While Hastings handles many of the business operations, Sarandos continues as the company’s chief content officer.

  • September 2021: “Squid Game” debuts on Netflix, becoming a global phenomenon.

  • April 19, 2022: Netflix announces that it lost subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, its first such loss in its time as a streaming-first company. Netflix also announces that it will launch an ad-supported tier for the first time.

  • July 1, 2022: “Stranger Things” returns from a three-year hiatus and draws a massive audience.

  • Late 2022: Though the timing has fluctuated, the latest reporting indicates that the streamer’s ad-supported tier will launch in select markets in late 2022 before going wide in early 2023.


Netflix is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 3,000+ movies, 2,000+ TV Shows, and Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Tiger King, and Bridgerton. They are constantly adding new shows and movies. Some of their Academy Award-winning exclusives include Roma, Marriage Story, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Netflix offers four plans — on 2 device in HD with their “Standard with Ads” ($6.99) plan, on 1 device in SD with their “Basic” ($9.99) plan, on 2 devices in HD with their “Standard” ($15.49) plan, and 4 devices in up to 4K on their “Premium” ($19.99) plan.

Netflix spends more money on content than any other streaming service meaning that you get more value for the monthly fee.


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