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10 Surprising Facts about Netflix

by Durga Dharshini R

The online streaming giant, Netflix has penetrated into our lives and has already become a part of our lifestyle. For some, it has become a part of the daily routine as well.

Netflix is a great source for watching movies/ series or catching up on favourite shows. It is considered as a good stress buster and viewed as a way to escape from reality to spend one’s time in their own world.


The COVID-19 lockdown has added 15 million new subscribers to Netflix, which has increased its user base to more than 182 million subscribers worldwide as on April 2020.

Netflix has become synonymous for Video Streaming and is been ruling the world of streaming. Let’s uncover some of the little-known facts of the online streaming giant!

1. Netflix was originally named as Kibble

Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph initially had confusions while choosing a name for Business Incorporation. Marc Randolph decided that the Company could be named as Kibble.com until a permanent name was fixed.

The word Kibble means Dog Food. Marc had chosen this name to get reminded of an old advertising maxim “It doesn’t matter how good your dog food advertising campaign is if the dogs won’t eat the dog food”.

After some time, the Management team shortlisted names like Webpix, Directpix, Luna, Netpix, etc. Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph finally agreed on the name “Netflix” which has now become synonymous for online streaming.

Source: NextBigWhat

2. Netflix was primarily a Video Rental Company

When Netflix was started in 1997, it was primarily renting out DVDs by mail. It began offering online subscription from 1999.

Subscribers were allowed to chose movies or television shows from the Netflix Website. After the customers are done selecting, the selected movies or shows were then mailed to them in the form of DVDs along with prepaid return envelopes.

Netflix DVD

Netflix had more than 100 distribution centres from which it used to mail the DVDs to the respective customers.

3. The idea of Netflix was born due to Late Fee Charges

It is believed that the idea of Netflix was born due to the late fee charges imposed by Blockbuster. Netflix Co-founder Reed Hastings had rented the DVD of the movie “Apollo 13” from Blockbuster and failed to return it back within the stipulated time.

Therefore, he was charged a late fee of $40 by the Blockbuster. Reed Hastings thought of starting a movie business with no late fees and that’s how Netflix was born. However, some people believe that the reason for the late fees was not the real reason behind the idea of Netflix.


Source: Forbes

4. Netflix employees are offered unlimited holidays

Netflix is known for offering unlimited holidays policy for its employees. Netflix employees are free to decide when they have to work and are allowed to take as many holidays they want. The days are not tracked and the employees can return to work whenever they want.

This perk has been highly beneficial for Netflix. They believe that giving employees greater autonomy creates a more responsible culture. It also makes them more accountable, focused and productive, thereby fostering a positive work environment.

Source: Yahoo News

5. Netflix has more than 76000 Micro-Genres

Sounds Incredible?

It is believed that Netflix has more than 76000 hidden categories or micro-genres. Micro-Genre is a specialized or niche genre. Some of the categories are Spy movies, Zombie shows, British Crime, Satanic stories, Movies for children of age 2- 4 years and many more.

All these categories have 4 digit codes which show up at the end of the URL. However, all of the categories are not visible to everyone. There are many articles and videos circulated by users on how to unlock or uncover the hidden categories of Netflix.

Netflix Microgenre

Source: Tech Times

6. Netflix uses BitTorrent for purchase suggestions

It is known that Netflix monitors BitTorrent and similar pirate sites to check on what kind of movies and shows are being downloaded by people illegally. This data is used by Netflix to purchase similar movies or shows and to offer them through Netflix.

This is one of the interesting methods used in gathering the needed information.

By this way, Netflix gets accurate data on what people are expecting and launch movies/ shows accordingly. Similarly, it also makes them available in its site in a legal manner.

Source: Forbes

7. The Netflix Quantum Theory

If you are a Netflix user, you would have experienced specific genre recommendations like Evil kid horror movies, Romantic Chinese crime movies, Oscar-winning Romantic dramas, etc.

Have you wondered how you are getting such personalized recommendations?

It’s all because of tagging mechanisms. Todd Yellin, the Vice President of Netflix has prepared a document called “Netflix Quantum Theory” which spells out ways of tagging movie endings, lead’s character, movie location and many other facets of a movie.

For tagging movies, Netflix pays people to watch the content and provides a list of 1000 keywords which are to be used for tagging purpose. This data is further used by a machine intelligence approach for giving personalized recommendations.

Source: The Atlantic

8. Netflix Employees once used to make House calls

When Netflix began its subscription service through its Website, the employees of Netflix would make calls to the customer to take customer experience surveys.

The employees used to insist on visiting the customer’s house to actually watch them how they are using their website. This way the employees interacted with the customers, watched their experience and took customer surveys.

It is believed that many customers agreed for the house visit and it is also known that the employees used to buy coffee as a token of their appreciation for the customers.

9. Netflix has Petabyte of Video Content

The master catalogue of Netflix takes up to 3.14 Petabytes of cloud storage space. It consists of 100 different versions of video content for enabling customers to watch on different devices as per their convenience.

A Petabyte equals to 1000 Terabytes. The storage space is later converted and compressed to 2.75 Petabytes from 3.14 Petabytes.

Source: Gizmodo

10. Netflix is the largest contributor to Online Traffic

Netflix has the largest share of 26.6% of the global video streaming traffic. While other Video Streaming Companies like YouTube has 21.3% traffic, Amazon Prime Video has 5.7% and Facebook Video has 3.4%.

According to 2018 Global Internet Phenomena Report by Sandvine, Netflix consumes 15% of the global downstream bandwidth, making it the biggest data hog on the planet.

Netflix Data

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1 comment

Anonymous August 8, 2020 - 11:37 am

Great information


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