MoneyINC Logo
Years of

20 Fun Facts You Never Knew about Netflix

Reed Hastings

Some people think that Netflix is one of the greatest inventions ever! It's true, there is definitely plenty of movies and television series to choose from. Seriously, if you can't find something to watch on Netflix, you just don't like television. Remember when you had to get dressed and go to your local Blockbusters or other video store in order to watch something different than what was being offered on your regular channels? Netflix changed all that! Now you can stream hours and hours of entertainment right in your own living room, den, bedroom, and pretty much anywhere else you want to catch a show. If you have a smartphone or tablet on you, you can watch Netflix absolutely anywhere. Netflix has changed the way we look at entertainment. You may think you know a lot about it, but here's 20 fun facts you never knew about Netflix.

1. Netflix could have been known by another name

Netflix tried out quite a few names before settling with the one everyone knows today. Some of the ideas that got kicked around were Directpix, Replay, and Luna, to name a few. In fact, it was originally tagged as Kibble, but that was just for incorporation purposes. Marc Randolph, Netflix's founding CEO, had a dog named Kibble and the name was temporarily assigned to remind everyone at what would end up being called Netflix about an old advertising maxim which basically meant it didn't matter how good the advertising is if the dogs won't eat the dog food. Eventually, they of course settled on Netflix as the name of their company. Thank goodness, right? Sounds weird saying, ''Kibble & chill!''

2. Netflix original story may not be what you think.

The classic tale of how Netflix got its start is that of CEO Reed Hastings, who was charged forty dollars in late fees when he rented Apollo 13 and kept it beyond its due date, keeping for six weeks. As the story goes, his wife was getting fed up with his incessant behavior of keeping movies far beyond their due dates, racking up huge late rental fees. It was told that Hastings had misplaced the video and didn't want to tell his wife. He questioned himself about whether he was really willing to compromise his marriage over a late fee. On his way to the gym, he ascertained that the gym had a much better business model; you paid a set amount and could then work out as little or as much as you wanted.

This story actually began as a way to explain to people how Netflix worked. Customers in 1997 didn't really get the idea because no one shopped online very much. The idea of renting a movie online, then having to return it, was not really anyone's idea of how things should be done. Telling people the story, however, cleared up any questions consumers may have had, leading them to understand the concept of keeping the movies for as long as they wanted without having to pay any late fees.

3. Do you know the term ''binge-watch''?

Although the term has actually been around since the 1990s, it's only just recently became popular, associated with watching back-to-back programs in sort of a marathon fashion. The word ''binge'' comes from an old Lincolnshire dialect, making its way into the English language during the nineteenth century. Since Netflix has gained such a following, the word has taken on a life of its own. In fact, ''binge-watch'' was actually named word of the year by international publisher Collins Learning in 2015. Even though the practice of binge-watching has been around since networks would show marathons of particular shows during the 1980s, it only recently became a popular activity which many Netflix watchers have taken part in at least once since they've had their subscription. According to statistics, about sixty percent of Netflix users binge-watch shows once every few weeks.

4. Netflix is a great place to work

Not only do new Netflix employees get a starting pay rate of around eighteen dollars an hour, but they are also encouraged to take as many days off as they want or need. As long as they give the company prior notice and aren't just calling in all the time and as long as their work doesn't suffer from missing days, they can take off whenever they want to. In addition, everyone who works for Netflix also gets a free membership. Probably the free membership sways a lot of would-be applicants. After all, who wouldn't want a free Netflix membership?

 5. You can even work from home for Netflix

This may sound like a dream job to some, but Netflix will pay for watching content from home. If you've added binge-watching to your list of hobbies, this may just be the job for you. As a tagger, you'll watch between three to eight titles weekly. Your job is to collect data, categorize, tag, and subtag from a pool of over a thousand keywords. By watching content that has been purchased or produced by Netflix, you can help to improve their video recommendations, which is referred to as Netflix Quantum Theory.

In addition, Netflix doesn't just hire anyone for this job and it's not as easy as it sounds. Tagging one two-hour title can take up to an hour; you can't just skipping through the content. These jobs are only part time, but are highly sought after. Furthermore, Netflix is picky about who they hire to do the tagging. Many of the network's taggers have studied film or have screenwriting experience, have prior work as film critics, or have worked as script supervisors.

6. Ever wondered how large the Netflix content library is?

Netflix has hundreds of thousands of titles, but exactly how big is their content library? Believe it or not, Netflix has over on petabyte of content. If you've never heard of that unit of storage, don't feel bad; a lot of people have never heard about it. It's humongous! A petabyte is equivalent to 1024 terabytes or a million gigabytes! Now that's a LOT of storage. In fact, Netflix designs its own hardware. Since they are streaming that much content, they need hardware which can handle it. They use types of servers; one is hard disk based and the other is flash drive based which is built for high density and low-power usage. The hardware design has to be updated every single year.

7. Have you ever seen Netflix's first ever film?

Most of you have probably never even heard of ''Example Show'', but it's still available on Netflix if you want to check it out. The eleven minute film was meant as a test and isn't really meant for viewers to actually watch. It's what seems like a random collection of scenes which are used in order to test frame rates and audio sync. It includes scenes such as a monologue from Julius Caesar, which is performed with violent diction, a running water fountain, shots of a guy running, then moonwalking, juggling, and ball-bouncing.

If you've ever watched one of those old kung fu movies where the dialogue doesn't quite match up, this is exactly the effect Netflix was trying to avoid by running this test show, that, and other technical reasons. If you want to check it out, just look up ''Example Show''; the description will say, ''An example of a show'' over and over.

8. Have you witnessed any funny glitches?

Sometimes the descriptions will get mixed up, making hilarious glitches, but one time the glitch was across the entirety of Netflix, although only a few viewers got to see it. In 2014, some kind of bug caused the one-sentence movie summaries to merge with different titles. This created completely hilarious and nonsensical description mashups. The summaries were of course removed, but not before may viewers were able to snap a screenshot. Furthermore, there's even a Twitter created just for this random mixup called @SummaryBug where subscribers can tweet the funny mashups. One popular one, which was a summary of the movie about Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder, ended by saying he had ''changed the way Americans think...before his extraterrestrial activity.'' Another such mashup suggested that the Samurai Rangers, who were stuck on Christmas Eve in Magazoid's cockpit, were going to escape in order to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Speaking of glitches, one time, back before Netflix started streaming, they decided to give subscribers something fresh and new. They put footage of President Clinton's testimony before the Grand Jury on DVD for rent. Unfortunately, the duplication house accidentally mixed up the Clinton discs with some hardcore Chinese porn, sending out several hundred before catching the mistake.

9. Netflix is the largest Internet traffic contributor

According to statistics, Netflix accounts for almost thirty-seven percent of peak Internet traffic in North America, compared to Hulu and Amazon, both only accounting for less than two percent of traffic during peak hours. This is the reason whatever you're watching may get a little blurry or pixelated between the hours of 7 and 9 pm; literally millions of other Netflix subscribers are also watching at that time. Netflix streams about two billion hours of material each month!

Netflix reported that they had almost seventy-five million worldwide subscribers across a hundred and ninety countries where service is available and their goal is to have service available in two hundred countries eventually. The Latin American community is Netflix's fastest growing market with over five million viewers. If you've noticed the arrival of more Latin and other specific material, this is why; they are investing in what will appeal more to these viewers and others across the world.

In addition, the company makes an estimated seven billion dollars in revenue each year with about two billion of that being profits.

10. Does binge-watching harm you?

While we're on the subject of how many subscribers are watching Netflix, let's ask this important question: does binge-watching harm you? A study has shown that binge-watching can actually make you more prone to depression. The study, which was made up of a little over three hundred people, revealed that binge-watching tends to make people feel as though they lack self-control. In addition, it can make you feel more lonely. The study showed that those who are already depressed tend to watch a lot more programs and that those who begin watching more may develop depression as well. The moral? Keep track of how much you're watching and don't over do it. Go outside sometimes instead!

11. Netflix was almost purchased by Blockbuster.

CEO Reed Hastings almost sold Netflix to Blockbuster in 2000. He wanted to align Netflix with the rental giant, which, at the time, had nearly eight thousand stores worldwide. Hastings offered to sell a 49% stake, taking the Blockbuster name as well, and acting as their online service. Nevertheless, Blockbuster turned him down. They probably feel real stupid now, however, since the Blockbuster franchise has since went belly up. Now where the famous movie rental stores used to stand are mostly abandoned buildings and the occasional pet store chain. What a waste!

12. Do you know where the phrase ''Netflix & Chill'' originated?

When Netflix first started providing their streaming service, people began saying, ''I'm just going to go home and watch Netflix and chill,'' meaning they were just going to go home and watch some Netflix. Then, Black Twitter decided to put a spin on the phrase, using it as code for hooking up or making a booty call. By the summer of 2015, the phrase had just about lost its original connotations of watching Netflix in a relaxed atmosphere to being used as a euphemism. Now, before you say you're going to ''Netflix & chill,'' perhaps you'd better just say ''I'm going home to lay on the couch and watch Netflix'' instead.

13. Did you know you can adjust the buffering?

There is a secret menu for adjusting buffering and bit rate. On a PC, press Shift, Alt, and left click launches a troubleshooting menu which allows you to adjust the bit rate of stream so that it doesn't buffer. On a Mac, press Shift, Option, pressing while streaming will bring up a diagnostic screen. Then click on Screen Manager. Then choose Manual to alter the streaming rate. Lower numbers equal lower image quality, but it does allow uninterrupted viewing.

When using a video gaming console or other streaming devices, try using the following ''cheat code'': Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up, which will deactivate Netflix. Now reboot it. Unfortunately, if you're watching on an Apple TV, you'll just have to deal with the buffering

14. Can you believe that Netflix actually hired a Spoiler Expert?

What is a Spoiler Expert, you say? A Spoiler Expert is a cultural anthropologist who examines spoilers within the context of binge-watching. When you have information about a program that nobody else knows yet, you have a power of sorts. Netflix used this data generated by the Spoiler Expert to ask viewers how they classify spoilers. A quick survey asked whether you care about someone's loose typing on social media ruining a plot line or if you're super locked in to not wanting to know anything until you've watched, or if you're somewhere in between.

Netflix was also interested in finding out if spoilers ruin a title's appeal. Netflix's content chief Ted Sarandos feels that their fate is tied into understanding the behavioral changes of people who watch TV. The result of the survey revealed that most people will still watch a popular title even if a main plot has already been revealed to them.

15. Does Netflix rank higher than HBO?

Netflix and HBO are actually the two largest content-making giants in the world. They have fought over ratings as well as subscriber claims. By early 2014, however, it was typically accepted that Netflix had, in fact, edged out HBO, with the streaming giant estimating almost thirty-four million US viewers, while the cable powerhouse estimated only twenty-eight million viewers. As for ratings of the two, exact figures aren't available, namely because Netflix guards their own numbers as if they were sacred.

Content chief Ted Sarandos claims that one of Netflix's shows has more viewers than Game of Thrones, which is cable's top-rated series. Instead of offering numbers up as proof, Sarandos says that Netflix is happy to take the number two spot, but in reality, he believes Netflix is number one.

16. Do you get Netflix to trick your kids into going to bed?

Maybe you didn't even know you could do that, but Netflix offers a variety of ways for tricking your children into going to bed. Fake New Year's Eve countdowns is one; five minute videos is another - for those kids who ask, ''just one more?'' Yes, Netflix can be a parent's best friend at times. In addition, they offer many kid-friendly shows and a kids channel just for them which only shows G-rated programs.

Want to know another trick? You can use your mobile device as a remote control for Netflix. On your PS3, use your phone or tablet instead of the game controller. Sync your mobile device with your PS3 using your WiFi. Load the Netflix app on both devices. then use your mobile device like a remote. This particular option is only available for Android devices. If you have an Apple TV or Roku, you can download a remote control app on your iPhone.

17. Netflix put House of Cards together based on the director's and actor's popularity.

What began as a long shot for Netflix turned out to be a winner. House of Cards is the remix of an original British show. Netflix came up with the idea for the series after viewing analyzed data which showed viewers generally watched movies directed by David Fincher all the way to the end. Additionally, a significant amount of these same viewers also regularly watched Kevin Spacey and the original British House of Cards. They put them all together and boom! A TV titan was born.

Unfortunately, now with the allegations against Kevin Spacey, Netflix has already fired Kevin Spacey. Whether or not it will affect the shows ratings remains to be seen. Their plan is to keep on with the show, just without Spacey's character. We'll see!

One actor who's not going anywhere anytime soon is Adam Sandler. Whether you love him or hate him, Sandler and Netflix has signed a four-picture deal. The deal makes sense since Sandler's movies rack up millions of views. People love Adam Sandler and Netflix wants to give the viewers more of what they love. Funny enough, Sandler's reason for agreeing to the deal was because ''Netflix rhymes with wet chicks.''

18. Did you know Netflix had a publicity tour?

Yes, in 2006 and 2007, Netflix put together a tour for publicity which included actors who had bands and just so happened to star in their most popular movies as well. The events were held in filming locations and featured performances by Kevin Costner, Bruce Willis, Kevin Bacon, and Dennis Quaid.

19. Did you know Netflix had its own awards show?

Netflix had their own awards show called the Flixies. The brief experiment, which wasn't a very serious awards show, were announced and had plenty of publicity in 2013. However, the awards, which were supposed to be voted on, haven't returned since. Must not have been as big as they had hoped for. Netflix doesn't need awards to know how awesome their service is; just check their stats!

20. How much time do you watch Netflix?

Last, but not least, according to estimates, viewers watch two hours a day of content. Does that seem low to you? Some statistics put that number at closer to five hours a day, but that's just crazy, right? Another estimate from Netflix is that you spend about two minutes browsing and trying to decide what to watch before either choosing something or giving up. That number seems a bit low, too, doesn't it? Either way, Netflix definitely gets plenty of viewers watching their more than eight thousand titles. There's always something to watch!

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

Related Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with our most recent guides and articles on , freshly curated by our diligent editorial team for your immediate perusal.
As featured on:

Wealth Insight!
Subscribe to our Exclusive Newsletter

Dive into the world of wealth and extravagance with Money Inc! Discover stock tips, businesses, luxury items, and travel experiences curated for the affluent observer.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram