30+ of the Coolest Things You Didn’t Know About Netflix

If you’e ever wondered how to use your iPhone as a mobile remote, we’ve got answers. It might also come in handy to know how to erase your Netflix viewing history so that nobody on your account will know how many times you’ve watched The Princess Diaries. We’ll also debunk popular Netflix myths, like the fact that the CEO, Reed Hastings, once owed $40 in late fees for renting Apollo 13. 

We’ve also got facts about Netflix binge-watching and depression, and information about how to become a Netflix tagger. Some Netflix trivia facts listed below include how to operate God Mode, how to hack the different Netflix genres with a secret code, and how to optimize your viewing with other hacks. Check out this list of things you didn’t know about Netflix below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.

The Company Started Rolling Out An 'Ultra' Tier In July 2018

In July 2018, Netflix announced they had started trials of a new Ultra pricing tier, which allows users to view the streaming service’s HDR content. The trials started in Europe, where select users are charged an additional €3 ($3.50) for the service.

Netflix said the new service is to “understand how consumers value Netflix.” High Dynamic Rangecontent offers its viewers more vibrant colors and a higher level of contrast. Prior to this test, the Premium plan – which costs $13.99 a month – already included 4k Ultra HD for up to four screens.

 

Netflix’s First Name on Paper Was Kibble

The company kicked around a lot of names – Replay.com, Directpix.com, Luna.com to name a few – but it was initially called Kibble.com for incorporation purposes. Kibble was the name of Marc Randolph – the founding CEO’s – dog, and the temporary name was designed to remind everyone at what would be called Netflix of an old advertising maxim: “No matter how good the advertising, it’s not a success if the dogs don’t eat the dog food.

 

New Netflix Employees Start at Around $18-an-Hour

Employees may also take as many days off as they want. Plus, they get a free Netflix subscription. 

There Was Once A Funny Glitch Only A Few Viewers Saw

In 2014, a bug caused one-sentence summaries of different titles to merge, creating completely nonsensical and hilarious mashup descriptions. The titles were removed, but many subscribers still managed to grab delightful screen shots and one even created a popular Twitter, @SummaryBug.    

Just one example of the bug read: “Legendary business man and Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, changed the way Americans live, think, and work, before his extraterrestrial activity.”

It's The Largest Contributor Of Internet Traffic
According to the numbers in 2015, Netflix’s combined bandwidth traffic accounts for 36.5% of peak traffic in North America. Amazon and Hulu, meanwhile, accounted for less than 2% of peak traffic. 

 

What Does Binge-Watching Actually Do to Us?

A study done in 2015 at the University of Texas revealed that binge-watching may make us more likely to be depressed. The study was made up of 316 people. It also revealed that binge-watching can make people feel like they have a lack of self-control, which can highlight a person’s perceived loneliness. 

”Our findings in our research show that those who feel more depressed tend to watch more programs,” said Yoon Hi Sung, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Netflix Almost Got Sucked into the Blockbuster Black Hole

CEO Reed Hastings nearly handed Netflix over in 2000. He sought to align himself with Blockbuster, the rental giant across 7,700 stores worldwide. “We offered to sell a 49% stake and take the name Blockbuster.com. We’d be their online service,” he said.

Much to their later dismay, Blockbuster turned him down. And now there are tumbleweeds and pet store chains where the Blockbuster franchise used to be.

The Origin Of 'Netflix & Chill'

Kevin Roose at Fusion actually tracked down the origin of the phrase. When Netflix began offering streaming service in 2007, people might say something like, “I’m going to go home and watch some Netflix and chill,” which contextually meant “going home, flopping down on the couch, and watching Netflix.” Then, Black Twitter started spinning that phrase, using it as a code word for a hook up or booty call. 

Roose says that Twitter user @nofacenina was the first to tweet, “I’m about to log onto Neflix and chill for the rest of the night” back in 2009. @TeviStateofMind was the first to tweet the phrase with the ampersand. “bouta hop on this netflix & chill for the rest of the day! shower first tho lol.” By summer 2015, the phrase had begun to shed its connotations of relaxed isolation and begun to be used as a euphemism. The rest is history.

According To Netflix, You Spend About Two Minutes Deciding What To Watch
The company estimates that users spend only one to two minutes browsing for a title before choosing one or simply giving up.
Netflix Pulls In More Than $6 Billion A Year

The company closed out the 2015 fiscal year with estimated $6.78 billion in revenue with $1.75 billion in profits.

 

The Secret Menu To Adjust Bit Rate/Buffering And How To Use It

On a PC, pressing Shift, Alt, and left clicking launches a troubleshooting menu that allows you to adjust the bit rate of a stream so it doesn’t buffer. On a Mac, it’s Shift, Option. You want to press these while streaming the title to bring up the diagnostic screen. Then click Screen Manager. Then select Manual to alter the streaming rate. Lower numbers lower the image quality, but do allow for uninterrupted viewing.  

When using video game consoles and other streaming devices, try inputing the code Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Up on the controller or remote to deactivate Netflix, then reboot it.

If you’re watching on an Apple TV, though, buffering must remain a fact of life.

Netflix Adopted A 'God Mode' For Browsers

Hate scrolling horizontally? Independent developer Renan Cakirerk didn’t, so he created a “god mode” revealing all of the user’s viewing options all at once in a single vertical menu. The work-around proved so popular that Netflix incorporated the feature into a total redesign of the site, and Cakirerk’s bookmarklet is no longer available. It remains a testament to his unauthorized ingenuity and Netflix’s responsiveness, however.

 

Netflix Hired A Spoiler Expert To Understand The Changing Social Climate

Cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken was brought in by Netflix to understand spoilers within the context of binge-watching. McCracken said that when you have information about a show that no one else knows about, you have power.  

“I live in the future that you are about to occupy,” McCracken said. Netflix used McCracken’s data to ask viewers how they classify spoilers. A quick survey determines whether your loose typing on social media has ruined plot lines, or if you’re super locked down about that kind of thing. Or somewhere in the middle.

Netflix was also interested in finding out whether spoilers ruin a title’s appeal. “Our whole fate is tied up in understanding the behavioral changes of people when it comes to watching television and consuming content,” said content chief Ted Sarandos. McCracken said that spoilers don’t tend to have impact on a well done television series or film. “You can know about the key scenes and still want to watch the show.”

Does Netflix Have Higher RatingsThan HBO? Netflix Believes So

The two biggest content-making giants in the world – HBO & Netflix – have locked horns over ratings and subscriber claims. By early 2014, it was generally accepted that Netflix had eclipsed HBO, with the streaming giant racking up an estimated 33.4 million US users to the cable powerhouse’s 28 million. As for ratings, exact figures aren’t available, as Netflix guards numbers. Still Netflix’s Ted Sarandos claims that an unspecified streaming show lures more viewers than Game of Thrones, which is officially the top-rated cable series.

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos told the UBS Global Media Conference in 2015 that he’s fine with that perception, but doesn’t really believe it, despite not offering up numbers as proof. “We’re pleased to take the number two spot, but think it’s number one because they don’t measure all the devices,” Sarandos said.

Subscribers Watch Two Hours Of Content A Day
Many of you think that’s super low, right? But if you consider that viewers watch five hours of live TV a day, Netflix owns you. 
Netflix Helps Parents Trick Their Kids Into Going To Bed Early

From fake New Year’s Eve countdowns to short, five-minute videos designed to let kids watch “one more episode” before bed without actually letting them stay up late, Netflix is a parent’s best friend.

 

Netflix Put Together House Of Cards Based On David Fincher And Kevin Spacey’s Popularity

What began as a gamble for Netflix has become a sure thing. House of Cards is a remake of a British original, and its American version was not guaranteed success. Netflix came up with the series after analyzing viewership data showing many viewers watched the films of director David Fincher through to the end.

A significant chunk of these viewers also regularly watched Kevin Spacey’s work, as well as the original British House of Cards. From this simple observation, a TV titan was born.

 

Netflix Had Its Own Awards Show Called The Flixies

Netflix briefly experimented with its own awards show. The Flixies, which were not very serious, were announced plenty of publicity in 2013, but the votable awards didn’t return for another round after the first year.

 

Adam Sandler Isn’t Going Anywhere

Love him or hate him, Sandler signed a four-picture deal with Netflix. Sandler’s films rack up millions of views on the platform, so the deal makes a lot of sense.  

“People love Adam’s films on Netflix, and often watch them again and again. His appeal spans across viewers of all ages,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said. Sandler’s first Netflix picture, The Ridiculous 6, set viewing records on Netflix with the most robust first 30-day performance in the company’s history.

Sandler’s reasoning for agreeing to the deal? “Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks,” he said. Go ahead. Roll your eyes.

Jenji Kohan Discovered A New Audience With 'Orange Is The New Black'

Kohan took Weeds to Showtime because the network gave her the freedom to create. She found the same freedom with Netflix, coupled with new narrative possibilities thanks to entire seasons becoming available to viewers at once.

There are no rules. It’s Netflix,” she explained. “I could do a whole season in a week if I wanted, not that I necessarily would, but that’s the joy of this.

Who’s Older? Netflix Or Google?

Technically, Netflix precedes Google by one whole year. Google came on the scene in 1998, during the early days of the Internet. In 1997, Netflix offered unlimited rental DVDs through the mail for a monthly subscription, then began offering streaming services in 2007. 

Subscribers Accidentally Got Hardcore Porn In 1998

Back before it entered the streaming business, Netflixwanted to give subscribers something fresh, and put footage of President Clinton’s Grand Jury testimony up for rent on DVD. The duplication house mixed up their hardcore Chinese hardcore porn order with the Clinton discs, and sent out a few hundred DVDs by mistake. 

The Late Fee Origin Story Isn’t Actually True

Part of Netflix’s origin story is the classic tale of the time that CEO Reed Hastings was charged $40 in late fees for renting Apollo 13 at his local video rental store. He allegedly didn’t return the VHS for six weeks, and his wife was getting pretty annoyed with him for racking up so many late fees.  Hastings said, “I had misplaced the cassette. It was all my fault. I didn’t want to tell my wife about it. And I said to myself, ‘I’m going to compromise the integrity of my marriage over a late fee?’ Later, on my way to the gym, I realized they had a much better business model. You could pay $30 or $40 a month and work out as little or as much as you wanted.”

Former Reuters reporter Gina Keating wrote an in-depth book, Netflixed, that debunked some myths about the company. She clears up the late fee story. “We all know that story as journalists because that’s the story that they sell. I was told after interviewing the Netflix founding team that that [story] began as a construct to explain to people how Netflix worked because the model in 1997 was very foreign to consumers. Nobody really shopped online. The idea of renting a movie online and then having to send it back, nobody did that. So the idea was to tell that story so that people would understand you didn’t have to pay late fees and you could keep it as long as you wanted,” Keating said.

Netflix Is Taking Over The World
As of January 2016, Netflix reported it had 74.8 million subscribers worldwide across the 190 countries where the service is available. They also stream two billion hours of movies and TV shows per month. As part of its huge push into international markets, Netflix’s goal is to be in 200 countries by the end of 2016. 
Netflix Keeps Its Viewing Numbers A Secret - Nielsen Will Track Them Anyway

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Crackle, Vudu, and other streaming services don’t disclose ratings, but that hasn’t stopped Nielsen from at least attempting to track viewership. Actual numbers would have a huge impact on negotiations for streaming rights.  

“Our clients will be able to look at their programs and understand: Is putting content on Netflix impacting the viewership on linear and traditional VOD

?” Nielsen senior VP Brian Fuhrer told The Wall Street Journal. To measure ratings, Nielsen will collect audio data, but not from mobile devices.

Other independent research groups have attempted to gain a sample. Luth Research polled 2,500 and determined that 4.4 million people watched Daredevil in the first 11 days. That’s more than Netflix’s other original titles House of Cards and Bloodline.

There Were Over 5 Million+ Subscribers In Latin America In 2015

The Latin American audience is the the company’s market with the fastest growth. “We are investing in content that would be attractive to (Latin America), but would also appeal to viewers across the world,” Netflix communications chief Jonathan Friedland told Variety in 2015.

 

Unique Netflix Subscribers Grew To Over 74 Million Worldwide In 2015

As Netflix adds more original programming as well as more content and expands into previously-untapped global markets, subscriptions have boomed, bringing the total subscriber total to just under 75 million. While US members aren’t joining as rapidly, the company expects to add roughly 6 million new customers a quarter.

 

Netflix Has More Data About How And What Viewers Watch Than Anyone In Hollywood

The Netflix recommendation algorithm provides a central component of the company, and it’s based on a staggeringly vast amount of information. Their desire is to mind-meld with users to discover specific tastes that each individual user might have. That’s why there are nearly 77,000 unique “micro-genres” describing each film and TV show exactly.

We can thank Netflix’s taggers for this meticulous breakdown. This wealth of knowledge is a goldmine for studios, independent filmmakers, and content makers worldwide.

The Term 'Binge-Watch' Has Been Around Since The ‘90s

“’Binge’ is an old Lincolnshire dialect word that made its way into common English in the 19th century,” international publisher at Collins Learning Elaine Higgleton said. “Binge-watch” was named Collins word of the year in 2015. The practice of binge-watching has been around since the ‘80s, when networks would program marathons of specific shows.

 

Why Does Your Video Get Pixelated At Certain Times?

Ever see Frank Underwood’s face get a little pixelated or blurry while he’s breaking the fourth wall? That’s because millions of subscribers are using around 35% of U.S. Internet bandwidth between and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

You Customize Your Recommendations
Your secret binge-watching habits have probably messed with your recommendations list. The best way to reset what Netflix offers is to rate the titles you watch. If you have multiple viewers in the house and you want to distinguish your viewing tastes from My Little Pony and Way of the Dragon, go to your Netflix My Account and set up viewing profiles for each family member. 
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