A brief history of Netflix

Published 6:06 PM ET, Mon July 21, 2014
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Reed Hastings, pictured, and Marc Rudolph, two software engineers, founded Netflix in 1997 to use the Internet to rent movies on DVD, then a new format. (An old, discredited story claims that Hastings had the idea after Blockbuster charged him a $40 late fee for "Apollo 13.") Rudolph left in 2002. Scott Olson/Getty Images
In 1999, Netflix adopts a monthly subscription model: unlimited rentals for a single monthly rate. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
In 2006, the company announced the $1 million "Netflix Prize," encouraging people to come up with a better algorithm than its current recommendation system, which was gummed up by divisive movies such as "Napoleon Dynamite." Three years later, the prize is claimed by a seven-man team, though Netflix never used their idea. From Twentieth Century Fox
Netflix moved into streaming in 2007. By now subscriptions were increasing by leaps and bounds: Three years later, the service had topped 20 million subscribers. netflix
The company announces a move into original programming with "House of Cards," a series about Washington intrigue produced by David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. It premiered in 2013. Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix
In an attempt to split its DVD and streaming businesses, Netflix created Qwikster for DVD distribution in 2011. Within a month, consumer protests prompted the company to drop the idea. Netflix/AP
"House of Cards" isn't the first original show to debut on the service. "Lilyhammer," starring Steven Van Zandt as an American gangster in Norway, premiered February 6, 2012, with all eight episodes available for streaming right away -- a distribution arrangement the company does for many of its series. Netflix
The first season of "House of Cards" premiered February 1, 2013. Netflix had invested $100 million for two 13-episode seasons -- a huge risk -- but the first season eventually earned eight Emmy nominations and greatly increased Netflix's visibility. The Emmy nods are the first for an online-only Web show. The second season premiered February 14, 2014, and earned 13 Emmy nominations. Nathaniel Bell for Netflix
Though "Hemlock Grove," which premiered April 19, 2013, hasn't gotten the press Netflix's other series have, the Eli Roth-produced horror show has enough of a following that it was renewed for a second season, which premiered in early July 2014. Sophie Giraud/Netflix
Netflix also broadcast a fourth season of "Arrested Development," the Fox series that went off the air in 2006. The Netflix season, which premiered May 26, 2013, is 15 episodes and -- if anything -- even more intricate than the original network run. netflix
"Orange Is the New Black," about the inmates of a women's prison, premiered July 11, 2013. Netflix said in November that it was the service's most-watched original series. The first season received 12 Emmy nominations. The second season premiered June 6, 2014. Netflix
"Derek," a UK series starring Ricky Gervais, was picked up by Netflix and premiered on September 12, 2013, in the United States. NEALE HAYNES/Netflix
Siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski, who created the "Matrix" movie trilogy, are at work on a Netflix series called "Sense8." Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
The company must be doing something right. As of the middle of 2014, Netflix has more than 50 million subscribers. Its stock price is well over $400 a share, having increased tenfold since 2009. Spencer Platt/Getty Images