Updated · Jan 29, 2023
Netflix is the most popular streaming platform, with 200 million users worldwide. It has become synonymous with video streaming, and it has revolutionized the way that we watch movies and other content.
Given how successful the company is, you might be wondering who owns Netflix. The answer is not that simple, as the company is owned by multiple shareholders. Read on to learn more.
The History of Netflix
Back in 1997, tech entrepreneur Reed Hastings teamed up with Marc Randolph to establish Netflix in Scotts Valley, California.
Netflix first started as a mail-order DVD and Blu-ray rental service, sending discs to customers by mail for a monthly subscription. In 2007, Netflix dropped DVD rentals and became a streaming service.
The streaming service gave its users the ability to skip rentals, late fees, and annoying 15-minute-long ads. In the coming years, Netflix became a hit, making over a billion dollars in revenue year after year.
Who Owns Netflix?
Since 2002, Reed Hastings has been the CEO of Netflix. As already mentioned, Netflix is owned by many shareholders because it’s a public company listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The largest individual shareholders are the CEO, Reed Hastings, the current Chief Content Officer and co-CEO, Ted Sarandos, and the former Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt.
The bulk of Netflix shares (78%) is owned by companies. Currently, the company with the highest number of shares is The Vanguard Group, an investment management company headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and it holds 7.49% of Netflix shares.
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Who Is Reed Hastings?
Reed Hastings is an American businessman born in 1960 and the founder of Netflix. Hastings comes from a high-profile family - his father worked as an attorney in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Richard Nixon. His mother, Joan Amory Loomis, was a Boston debutante from a Social Register family.
Reed obtained his BA in Mathematics at Bowdoin College. He later went on to obtain an MA in Computer Science from Stanford University. His first company, Pure Software, gave him the entrepreneurial and managerial experience he needed to successfully start Netflix.
What Is Reed Hastings' Salary and Net Worth?
In 2022, Hastings’ net worth was estimated at $3.7 billion.
His base salary is considered to be around $650,000, but this is not the final amount because of the big annual bonuses. The Netflix owner’s net worth will surely keep on rising thanks to the fact that it’s the most popular video streaming service in the US, and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.
Why Did Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph Create Netflix?
Reed Hastings had the idea for the Netflix business model after he had to pay a $40 fee for a video he lost in 1997. On his way to the gym, he realized that the subscription model for gyms was way better than the movie rental one. You could pay $30 or $40 on a monthly basis and work out as much as you like.
Hastings wanted to create a platform that would allow its users to rent as many movies as they wanted for a monthly subscription. Later that year, he was able to realize that idea with Randolph, and the rest is history.
Why Did Marc Randolph Leave Netflix?
Randolph was the Netflix CEO until 2002, after which he left the company and Hastings took over the role. The reason for his departure remained unknown until he decided to speak about it in his book, "That Will Never Work."
He admitted that the company outgrew his skills and that he was a better fit for a small startup rather than a large company with millions of users. Moreover, Randolph praised Hastings, stating that he wasn’t only a good early-stage CEO, but that he was an even better CEO in the later stages.
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The Bottom Line
The video streaming market has become highly competitive, but Netflix seems to stay ahead of the competition with its original, high-quality content. The figures speak for themselves - over 200 million users and a revenue of almost $8 billion for 2022 alone.
As for who owns Netflix, like any other massive business, its shares are divided between a number of individuals and companies.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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