Imagining Netflix in 1995

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This is why early Netflix was a dvd delivery service not a streaming company. They’ve actually been successful at updating their business model as technology has improved.


I loved the eager pressing of “Yes” for “Do you want to receive emails from Netflix? (FREE!)”


I noticed that. Opt-in? How retro!

Lots of clever little touches. The movie descriptions!


Right? I mean, is there any reason that you couldn’t have had a VHS/DVD mail delivery service back in the day?

I guess the VHS weight would make it kinda expensive, and DVDs didn’t really get that popular until ~2000, so the shipping would have been the primary barrier, that plus the fact that basic internet usage skills were kinda minimal in the general population still.

They had their eye on streaming from the beginning though. There’s a reason they didn’t name the company DVDsByMail.

this is so well done i’m starting to question my memory of what 1995 actually was like…


I used to work for Netflix. Netflix founder Reed Hastings came out to our office and told us that he had the idea for Netflix when he was thinking about lying to his wife about the return fees he owed at Blockbuster because he was ashamed of forgetting to return the movies. When DVDs came out, he tested shipping them in the mail and they usually arrived intact. He knew VHS was too expensive to ship. He had sold a software company already, so he used that as startup capital. I asked him why he stopped updating his blog. He said he was too busy running the company. This was around ten years ago.


I didn’t realize until your comment made me search it that Netflix has been around since 1997. Huh! He was really ahead of the game there, before DVDs were even very popular in the consumer space.

The sub-genre descriptions!

“I don’t get it” :smiley:

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I already had ISDN in 1995, so I could have downloaded a movie in a little over 5 hours!

BTW, I wish the movies in the selection were real; I’d watch all of them!

I remember 1995. Having even something as wonky as this back then would have been AMAZING.

If I remember correctly one of the triumphs of Netflix was figuring out low-cost disc shipping. It doesn’t seem like a hard proposition but evidently it was.

But then again we used to buy CDs in jewel cases that came inside giant (relatively speaking) cardboard boxes.

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