This week marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of Netflix. Starting in 1997 with a subscription service that used envelopes packed with digital video discs (DVDs), the company launched its website the following year. Its now-ubiquitous streaming service started nearly a decade later, in 2007.
For older Netflix users, this history is well known. But for streaming’s coveted Gen Z viewer demographic, the history lesson—detailed in a new video made by the company to commemorate its unlikely rise—suddenly imbues Netflix with the same kind of kitschy retro vibes that have led to booming vinyl sales, a new appreciation for decades-old film franchises, and an embrace of 1990s fashion.
Netflix’s history is an advantage when it comes to proving its commitment to its mission
The first movie ever shipped by Netflix was Beetlejuice, the 1988 horror comedy starring Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder. (Incidentally, Hollywood plans to cash in on the current nostalgia trend by releasing Beetlejuice 2, with Ryder, one of Netflix’s biggest stars via Stranger Things, and Keaton returning.)
Despite challenges from all sides, Netflix is still winning the overall streaming war
The latest streaming subscriber numbers show that Amazon and Disney+ are challenging Netflix in the realm of subscription TV dominance.
But by reasserting its role as the pioneer of the space, and enjoying far more user search interest than any other service, Netflix’s anniversary highlight is a signal that, despite a battered stock price, it is still riding high from the momentum of its first-mover advantage.