In this article we wanted to discover how Netflix has become one of the biggest media company, so we read the most relevant books about Netflix. 

Netflix, a brief history

Netflix was founded on August 29, 1997, in Scotts Valley, California.

Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded Netflix as a way to change the way people watched movies. The two had previously worked together at Pure Atria, a software company that was acquired by Sun Microsystems.

Randolph was the one who came up with the idea for Netflix while he was on a road trip and realized how annoying it was to have to return movies to the rental store. Hastings liked the idea and they decided to start their own company.

The company started out as a DVD-by-mail service and quickly grew to become one of the most popular streaming services available.

Netflix's early success can be attributed to its low monthly price point of $7.99 and its focus on customer satisfaction. The company quickly became known for its excellent customer service, which included no late fees for movies and no commercials for TV shows. This allowed Netflix to stand out from its competitors, who were mostly brick-and-mortar video rental stores.

Today, Netflix has over 220 million subscribers (2022) in 190 countries and 6,000+ titles in their streaming catalog.

The Netflix Business Model · How Netflix makes money?

Netflix has a pretty unique business model, or at least it was in the 2010s. Unlike most businesses, they don't really have any traditional sources of revenue. Instead, they rely on two things: subscribers and content.

Here's how it works: Netflix charges its subscribers a monthly fee. This gives them access to all of the content that Netflix has to offer. In turn, Netflix uses this money to pay for the rights to stream TV shows and movies. They also create their own shows which is called Netflix originals.

So far, this business model has been incredibly successful for Netflix, but in 2022 as The Wall Street Journal pointed out it started to crack. The whole subscription based model works till it grows, but Netflix stopped to grow in 2022 and because of new streaming platforms (Disney+ and HBO) it slowly started loosing market.

There are several options that emerged inhouse during the last years at Netflix, like advertisements on the platform for low tier subscriptions or tightening up the subscription sharing method among users.

My Selection of Business Books about Netflix

In this section, I want to introduce my top picks from Netflix business books. My picks are based on popularity and relevancy. But all of them is connected to the company Netflix, Inc.

That Will Never Work, by Marc Randolph (2019)

I couldn't imagine a more credible business book in this topic than one from the actual business owner, Marc Randolph.

As the co-founder and first CEO of Netflix, Randolph has a lot of experience and knowledge to share about building a successful business.

In his book, Randolph shares his insights on everything from coming up with the initial idea for Netflix to making it a reality. He also discusses the challenges and obstacles he faced along the way, and how he overcame them. With Randolph's firsthand account of building Netflix from the ground up, readers will get an inside look at what it takes to create a successful business.

I personally think this is a must read and not just for those who are entrepreneurs, but also for business leaders.

No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer (2020)

The second book in this list should be from the other co-founder Reed Hastings. 

Reed Hastings is part of a unique cultural experiment that has allowed Netflix to grow at lightning speed. The company's culture is based on the principle of “No Rules Rules,” which means that there are no set rules or guidelines that employees must follow. Instead, employees are encouraged to use their own judgment and creativity to solve problems and improve the business.

This approach has worked well for Netflix so far, and the company shows no signs of slowing down. With its strong culture of innovation, Netflix is poised to continue its success for years to come.

I learned so much small details about the history of Netflix from this book.

Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America's Eyeballs, by Gina Keating

This book is about the early days of Netflix. Gina Keating recounts the dramatic tale of the company's rise to the top.

Business strategy fans are likely going to like this book about Netflix, how the company used its early earnings to put into content and rights and to improve their platform in comparison to aging blockbusters which have had huge overhead at that time even in case of one movie.

Gina Keating is a prolific storyteller that pleasantly imbues her tales about Netflix. These early days teaches a lot about success stories and how they all start.

The Future of Streaming Media: What's next for Netflix?

In the age of streaming, it's hard to imagine a world without Netflix. The platform has become synonymous with binge-watching and couch potato culture. But what's next for Netflix?

The company is betting big on original content. In the last year, they've released several hit shows like Squid Game. But the creation of original stories that become hit year by year is a big challenge.

Netflix is also starting to experiment with interactive content like gaming. This type of content could have a future potential, but gaming is another market with big name like Microsoft.

In 2022 Netflix clearly lost market against Disney+, Prime Video (Amazon) and HBO MAX. The battle for the title of the biggest streaming platform just started. It's clear that apart from Netflix advance, they have a lot to do if they want to stay competitive. They'll need to continue to produce high-quality content that can rival what Disney+ and HBO Max can to offer.

So what does the future hold for Netflix? More original content, more innovation (like Netflix gaming), and more reasons for us to stay glued to our screens.

In terms of business they will most likely to step into the lower priced tiers with ads (partnered with Microsoft). These options will be available in 2023. 

If you are interested in entrepreneurship check out also our favorite Elon Musk biographies

Featured on Joelbooks