Netflix is an American entertainment company specializing in online on-demand streaming video, as well as a DVD-by-mail service in the U.S. Founded in Scotts Valley, California in 1997, Netflix began its current subscription model in 1999. Now the company has over 93 million subscribers in 190 countries. Most of the platform's available TV shows, movies, performances, and documentaries are licensed from distribution partners. But in 2011, Netflix began beefing up its original content, investing in its own original series like Orange Is the New Black and political drama House of Cards, as well as acquiring the rights to shows like Lilyhammer and the fourth season of Arrested Development. Unlike traditional broadcasters, Netflix's goal isn't to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, but to cater to niches and effectively give every slice of the population a show or movie they can't live without.
Though Netflix is widely considered to be the platform that is winning the streaming-video wars, it has not rested on its laurels when it comes to improving the service for its more than 93 million customers. In December 2016, it rolled out a major user interface upgrade, replacing static poster images with custom-created preview videos that automatically play when you scroll over a title card. The redesign, which required a combination of creativity and data science insights, encourages Netflix’s subscribers to serendipitously discover what to watch rather than tediously browse its catalog and wonder if something is worth sampling. The upgrade was a companywide effort that took nearly three years, demonstrating Netflix’s commitment to standing out from competitors such as Amazon for more than just content (though Netflix is planning to produce 1,000 hours of original shows in 2017 and plow $6 billion into its library, numbers that far outpace its rivals). The company also unleashed a download and go feature, which allows users to watch shows offline, and has expanded into 130 new countries.
valuation: $62.79 billion
public or private: Public
users: Over 93 million subscribers worldwide
headquarters: Los Gatos, CA