Netflix turns 25 years old today. How old does that make you feel?

‘From DVDs in the mail to entertaining the entire world’

(Jakub Porzycki/Nurphoto Via Reuters, Jakub Porzycki/Nurphoto Via Reuters)

Are you old enough to remember getting DVDs in the mail from Netflix? Netflix turns 25 years old today and it’s kicking up some memories.

I’m lucky to be old enough to remember what VHS tapes are and how to use them. It makes me feel old to know that there are people out there who don’t know what “be kind, rewind” means.

I’m also old enough to still be haunted by the sound of dial-up internet. Remember that? When you couldn’t go online because someone in the house was waiting for an important phone call.

Now everything is available right at our fingertips and thinking about it kind of freaks me out. We used to have to flip through the four (that’s right, for a while in my house we only had four channels) hoping to find something to watch.

Now, when there’s nothing to watch -- it’s just because there are too many options. I have 11 streaming apps right on my phone, and that’s not even all the ones that exist. I just tap a button and whatever I want goes on my TV.

Now we have “binge-watching,” and there’s more diversity than ever on our screens. We can connect with characters deeper than ever before -- escape through art without even leaving the couch (which was helpful when we had to stay home the last couple of years).

It’s pretty wild to have grown up watching how the world changed. It’s even more daunting to know that more change is always right around the corner.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, here’s a little thing from Netflix to celebrate its birthday -- and a timeline.

“For the past 25 years, we’ve been working hard to delight our members all around the world with great stories, and today we want to celebrate you -- the fans who made Netflix what it is today,” Netflix said in a press release.

(Can’t see the video? Click here.)

Here’s the timeline of Netflix

  • Aug. 29, 1997: Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph have an idea to rent DVDs by mail. They test the concept by mailing themselves a DVD. The DVD arrives intact, and the idea for Netflix is born.
  • April 14, 1998: Netflix launched its website and offered 925 titles for rent through a pay-per-rental model.
  • September 1999: The Netflix subscription service debuts, offering members unlimited DVD rentals without due dates, late fees, or monthly rental limits.
  • 2000: Netflix offers itself to Blockbuster for $50 million. Blockbuster declines.
  • April 2003: Netflix announces it has reached 1 million subscribers.
  • 2006: Membership grows to 5 million.
  • Jan. 15, 2007: Netflix announces that it will launch streaming video.
  • February 2007: Netflix delivers its billionth DVD and introduces video on demand.
  • June 12, 2009: Netflix Originals is launched.
  • 2010: Netflix arrives in Canada and streaming launches on mobile devices. The first dedicated kids experience debuts on streaming.
  • 2012: Membership reaches 25 million members, and expands into the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Nordic Countries. Netflix ventures into stand-up specials with ‘Bill Burr: You People Are All the Same.’
  • 2013: ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Hemlock Grove,’ ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black’ usher in the first slate of original series programming. ‘House of Cards’ goes on to win three Primetime Emmy awards - the first for an internet streaming service.
  • 2014: Membership surpasses 50 million and extends to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. Netflix begins streaming in 4K Ultra HD.
  • January 2016: Netflix announces that it will launch originals targeting kids.
  • 2017: Membership hits 100 million members globally. Study shows that the number of Netflix subscribers equaled that of all cable subscribers combined.
  • 2021: Membership surpasses 200 million. Netflix releases its first-ever film and series diversity study, in conjunction with the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and announces plans to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022. Netflix launches mobile games.
  • January 2022: Netflix raises prices and loses 1 million customers.

Click here to see the Netflix timeline on their website.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.