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Top 5 Facts About Netflix

VO: Chris Masson
Script written by Max Lett Netflix has been helping you escape reality since 1997 but did you know that it was just a home-grown operation before it took over the world and enslaved millions? In this installment, we're counting down the five most astounding facts about Netflix, the streaming service you spend most of your free time watching. Special thanks to our user Ethan Cate for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Written by Max Lett

Top 5 Facts About Netflix


Netflix has been helping you escape reality since 1997 but did you know that it was just a home-grown operation before it took over the world and enslaved millions? Welcome to WatchMojo’s top 5 facts. In this installment, we’re counting down the five most astounding facts about Netflix, the streaming service you spend most of your free time watching.

#5: Netflix Was Created out of an All-Consuming Hatred for Blockbuster


According to legend, way back in the distant year of 1997, Gameboys would soon acquire colour and a young, valiant Reed Hastings, was charged a $40 late fee for a copy of Apollo 13. From that day forward, Hastings swore a blood oath to bring down the video rental behemoth with all the devastating force of a doomed space shuttle kamikaze-ing to Earth. Some time later, Hastings, feeling magnanimous, offered to sell his DVD-by-mail service, Netflix, to Blockbuster for a mere $50 million. Blockbuster, feeling suicidal, said no. The blood oath was sworn once more and Hastings promised he would burn them to the ground, for real this time. Now the landscape is strewn with the once mighty ruins of the Blockbuster empire and Netflix is worth $33 billion.

#4: Netflix Thinks It Takes You 2 Minutes to Choose a Movie


No one likes to be categorized, but because Netflix is now our ruling lord and master, it needs to know what makes you tick. Hundreds of millions of dollars have gone into serious scientific research on your watching habits. As a result, Netflix estimates that it takes you 2 minutes to decide on what to watch. If by the time those 2 minutes have elapsed you still haven’t decided on what you want, Netflix says you’re very likely to move on to something other equally useless and time consuming activity. They really got their money’s worth with facts like those.

#3: Netflix Knows What You Love


With thousands of titles in their library and only 2 minutes before you get restless and pick up a book instead , Netflix has gotta have their suggest game on point. They’ve done this partly by categorizing all the films in their inventory into approximately 78 thousand sub-genres coded by tags. They’ve actually paid people to watch their movies and obsessively rate every aspect of the film– the morality of its characters, the amount of gore and romance and cruelty in it, its narrative style, etc. This is how you can get suggested genres like “British Revenge Movies based on Classic Literature,” “Inspiring Deep Sea Movies” and, one of my top 3000 favorites, “Romantic Indian Crime Dramas.”

#2: Netflix Studies Spoiling


Just like you, Netflix isn’t big on spoilers because of the effect it has on an overall viewing experience. So the logical next step was turning the concept of spoilers into a science. Netflix hired a cultural anthropologist– which is a couple of big words for “a nerd who studies large groups of people” to figure out what was going on. That nerd is Grant McCracken. According to his research, some folks are just asshats who get off on exercising a modest amount of power over the people they call friends by ruining something potentially awesome for them with spoilers. McCracken also notes that 24% of Britons say that spoilers are just a fact of life you gotta live with, whereas 76% of Americans feel the same. I guess people in the US are just more used to dealing with asshats?

#1: Netflix Accounts for One Third of Internet Traffic


Netflix keeps its numbers pretty secret so it’s hard to tell exactly who’s watching what when. But how about this for some mind bending trivia that will be useful to you in no way: according to the analysts at Sandvine, Netflix accounts for 37% percent of bandwidth usage on the internet during peak hours in North America. It beats Amazon, Hulu and YouTube put together during prime viewing hours. That’s insane. That means that while you’re watching this on your laptop, you’re probably also Netflixing Inside Out on your big screen, and The Ridiculous 6 on your iPhone. I’m just guessing here, but the other 63% of internet traffic is probably 100% porn related so you’ve probably got your tablet streaming some video too.

Reed Hastings recently predicted that conventional broadcast TV would be dead in 15 years. What do you think? For more binge-worthy top 10s and dealing-with-asshats top 5s be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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