Students compare popular entertainment options
Netflix was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, who had the idea of "rental-by-mail." Since then, the DVD rental and online streaming service has accumulated more than 7.5 million subscribers.
On any Friday night, students can be found engaging in a variety of activities such as going on a date, hanging out with friends or renting a movie for a quiet night at home.
Typically, for the latter, the way to rent new movies is through pay-per-view services such as Comcast On Demand, which can be relatively costly, or a movie rental store like Blockbuster, which offers several drawbacks depending on the convenience of the location and operating hours.
However, Netflix offers an alternative to going to the store or paying $4.99 for a pay-per-view movie. For a monthly subscription fee starting at $7.99, Netflix presents the convenience of ordering movies through the mail or via cable TV, without the penalty of late fees.
With Netflix, students can make a few clicks on the mouse or remote and watch the latest action flick or even past seasons of TV shows like "30 Rock."
Background of Netflix
In 1997, Netflix was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph with the idea of "rental-by-mail," an idea conceived by Hastings after he paid $40 in fees for returning a video late.
In recent years, Netflix has accumulated around 7.5 million customers. The company runs on the mission statement, "Our appeal and success are built on providing the most expansive selection of DVDs; an easy way to choose movies; and fast, free delivery."
For many students, Netflix is a convenient option on a Friday night since it is cheaper than going to the movies and also offers them the comfort of watching from their own home.
"Usually on Friday nights, I use Netflix to watch movies with my family," Mikayla Messer, '14, said. "I like Netflix because, along with not driving to the store, it is cheaper than other companies and offers more movie options than Internet sites such as Hulu."
Students compare alternatives
Although Netflix has a large following, it is not the only company that offers alternative choices for watching TV. Sites such as Hulu feature online streaming of current and past TV shows and movies, while Redbox offers $1 video rentals at various stations throughout the country.
Junior Zedekiah Fries uses Hulu along with Netflix, since both companies provide different viewing options for consumers.
"Hulu for me is a lot easier to access, and I can just do it on my laptop whenever I want to," Fries said. "Netflix is also good because there's no commercials during all your movies and TV shows."
"I like Netflix because ... it is cheaper than other companies and offers more movie options than Internet sites such as Hulu." --Mikayla Messer, '14
Both companies can be compared and contrasted in several ways. Netflix provides HD movies and TV shows on DVDs, through the TV or online streaming, while Hulu has an extensive library of TV shows that are recorded and posted online. Netflix has a library of around 20,000 movie titles while Hulu stands at about 2,000.
"I like Netflix because you can watch it right away on your Internet or TV without having to wait for commercials and you can stop it and start it whenever you want," Julianne King, '12, said. "There are also no late fees and, plus, it's cheaper than other things."
Though the number of viewers who have switched over from Blockbuster to Netflix is not clear, the stock history of each company may indicate which service customers are preferring. In a five-year span, the value of Blockbuster's stock has plummeted around 97 percent, while the value of Netflix's stock has risen about 600 percent since 2006.
"I use Netflix now because it really is just a better experience," Messer said. "There is no more going to the store, my family is much more satisfied because we do not have to pay so much money for a pay-per-view movie, and there is much more to choose from the Netflix selection."
For more information, visit the Netflix website.