Netflix, in full Netflix, Inc., media-streaming and video-rental company founded in 1997 by American entrepreneurs Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. It is also involved in the creation of original programming. Corporate headquarters are in Los Gatos, California.
In 1999 Netflix began offering an online subscription service through the Internet. Subscribers chose movie and television titles from Netflix’s Web site; the shows were then mailed to customers in the form of DVDs, along with prepaid return envelopes, from one of more than 100 distribution centres. Although customers typically rented for a flat monthly fee as many movies per month as they wished, the number of DVDs in their possession at any one time was limited according to their subscription plans. Netflix had tens of thousands of movie titles in its catalog.
In 2006 Netflix launched the $1 million Netflix Prize contest to see if anyone could improve by 10 percent its recommendation system, an algorithm for predicting an individual’s movie preferences based on previous rental data. Three years later the prize was awarded to BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos, a team made up of seven mathematicians, computer scientists, and engineers from the United States, Canada, Austria, and Israel.
In 2007 Netflix began offering subscribers the option to stream some of its movies and television shows directly to their homes through the Internet. For most subscription plans, the streaming service was unlimited. Netflix subsequently partnered with manufacturers of various consumer electronics products, including video game consoles and Blu-ray Disc players, in order to enable its videos to be streamed over an Internet connection to those devices. In 2010 Netflix introduced a streaming-only plan that offered unlimited streaming service but no DVDs. Netflix then expanded beyond the United States by offering the streaming-only plan in Canada in 2010, in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2011, and in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Scandinavia in 2012. By 2016 its streaming service was available in more than 190 countries and territories. Netflix had announced in September 2011 that it would split its streaming and mail-based services, with the latter to be called Qwikster, but abandoned the planned split a month later, citing an outcry from its subscribers. While its streaming services became the biggest revenue generator—with more than 130 million subscribers in 2018—the rental division remained profitable.
Beginning in 2013 with the episodic drama series House of Cards, the company offered video content produced specifically for its streaming service. Such content became a major focus of Netflix, and by the end of 2018 it offered approximately 1,000 original titles. Its notable series included Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Stranger Things, Narcos, and The Crown. It also produced numerous movies—notably Roma (2018), which won three Academy Awards, including best foreign language film.
Netflix’s dystopian Korean drama Squid Game has become the streaming platform’s biggest-ever series launch, with 111 million viewers watching at least two minutes of an episode.
Out of the thousands of programmes available on Netflix globally, how did so many people end up watching the same show? The easy answer is an algorithm – a computer program that offers us personalised recommendations on a platform based on our data and that of other users.
Streaming platforms like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime have undoubtedly reshaped the way we consume media, primarily by massively increasing the film, music and TV available to viewers.
How do we cope with so many options? Services like Netflix use algorithms to guide our attention in certain directions, organising content and keeping us active on the platform. As soon as we open the app the personalisation processes begin.
Our cultural landscape is now automated rather than simply being a product of our previous experiences, background and social circles. These algorithms don’t just respond to our tastes, they also shape and influence them.
But focusing too much on the algorithm misses another important cultural transformation that has happened. To make all this content manageable, streaming platforms have introduced new ways of organising culture for us. The categories used to label culture into genres have always been important, but they took on new forms and power with streaming.
Classifying our tastes
The possibilities of streaming have inspired a new “classificatory imagination”. I coined this term to describe how viewing the world through genres, labels and categories helps shape our own identities and sense of place in the world.
While 50 years ago, you might have discovered a handful of music genres through friends or by going to the record shop, the advent of streaming has brought classification and genre to our media consumption on a grand scale. Spotify alone has over five thousand music genres. Listeners also come up with their own genre labels when creating playlists. We are constantly fed new labels and categories as we consume music, films and television.
Thanks to these categories, our tastes can be more specific and eclectic, and our identities more fluid. These personalised recommendations and algorithms can also shape our tastes. My own personalised end-of-year review from Spotify told me that “chamber psych” – a category I’d never heard of – was my second-favourite genre. I found myself searching to find out what it was, and to discover the artists attached to it.
These hyper-specific categories are created and stored in metadata – the behind-the-scenes codes that support platforms like Spotify. They are the basis for personalised recommendations, and they help decide what we consume. If we think of Netflix as a vast archive of TV and film, the way it is organised through metadata decides what is discovered from within it.
On Netflix, the thousands of categories range from familiar film genres like horror, documentary and romance, to the hyper-specific “campy foreign movies from the 1970s”.
While Squid Game is labelled with the genres “Korean, TV thrillers, drama” to the public, there are thousands of more specific categories in Netflix’s metadata that are shaping our consumption. The personalised homepage uses algorithms to offer you certain genre categories, as well as specific shows. Because most of it is in the metadata, we may not be aware of what categories are being served to us You Can Watch All Netflix Works at EgyBest For Free With no any subscription