Netflix is celebrating its 25th anniversary today. Fittingly, the streaming icon commemorated the occasion with its own trailer.
High on birthday vibes, the company promises to take us on a trip down memory lane. Throughout the day, Netflix will drop nostalgic photos on its social media accounts that will have you pining for the days of ranking your online queue and waiting for that old red envelope.
In under two minutes, Netflix summarized its humble beginnings to global streaming dominance, and it all began with that little red envelope. From there, a media empire like we had never seen before was built.
Starting the first national mail-in DVD rental service, Netflix revolutionized the way Americans rented movies by taking advantage of the budding internet and online services. Instead of having customers drive to a brick-and-mortar store, Netflix put the DVDs in the mail. The convenience of having titles sent directly to your house and returning them by simply mailing it back took the country by storm. Soon-thereafter, both the local video stores and the corporate giant, Blockbuster, were scrambling to keep up.
Just when we thought mail-in DVD rentals couldn’t get any easier, Netflix introduced the world to on-demand streaming. As long as you had the bandwidth on your home internet, you no longer had to so much as walk to the mailbox to rent movies. With the rise of streaming came original content, which soon included some of Hollywood’s A-list talent. It spelled the end of an era for the video stores of the 1980s and ‘90s and gave rise to the numerous streaming services that threaten to make broadcast television obsolete.
It’s ironic that Netflix celebrates its 25th anniversary in the same year that it felt the sting of the biggest first-quarter subscriber loss in company history causing shares to dip 67 percent. The streaming giant has more competition than ever before with Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and other challengers to the throne stepping up their games.
While Netflix’s future may be cloudy, there’s no denying its massive impact on how we watch movies and television in its 25-year span. For now, it’s still the reigning King of Streaming.