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Netflix, one of the darlings of the internet age. In less than 20 years, it has become the go-to spot for our entertainment needs.

We list below five incredible Netflix facts you never knew were true…, but first…

Here’s the timeline for how it all began.

Netflix Timeline

1. It all started because of a Blockbuster late fee

You have a Blockbuster late fee to thank for Netflix — maybe. According to the most-told Netflix origin story, founder Reed Hastings was annoyed when Blockbuster charged him a $40 late fee for not returning Apollo 13 on time. That tale was more smart PR than truth, co-founder Marc Randolph later said, but the messaging worked. Later, Blockbuster passed on a chance to buy Netflix for $50 million, one of several fatal mistakes that eventually doomed the video rental company.

2. In the US, Netflix usage dropped during the eclipse.

It takes a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event to pull people away from their screens. During August 2017’s total solar eclipse, Netflix viewership dropped 10%. “Well played, Moon,” the company tweeted in response.

3. Half of couples are Netflix cheaters

Half of couples are cheaters — Netflix cheaters, that is. Forty-six percent of couples around the world have watched a TV show ahead of their significant other.

4. There’s a reason you can’t find a decent movie to watch

Netflix has 125 million hours of content, so why can’t you find a decent movie to watch? Blame the shrinking content library. Even as the company has spent billions of dollars developing its own original content, the number of movies and TV shows available to subscribers has actually dropped by 50% between 2011 and 2020.

5. There’s logic to those oddly correct movie recommendations

You might not realize it, but if you watch Netflix you’re part of a “taste community” (actually, several communities). The company sorts viewers into 2,000 different groups based on their viewing habits and then uses that data to recommend other TV shows and movies for them to watch. The strategy allows the recommendations to go beyond genre and find more subtle connections between movies and shows that suggest someone might enjoy something.


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