Netflix is a streaming media provider based in the United States. Founded in California in 1997, the company started as a small DVD-by-mail service in the U.S., and specialized in streaming media and video on demand over the years. The number of Netflix streaming subscribers has been constantly increasing over the years, steadily moving towards the 100 million mark in the first quarter of 2017. Global figures have been on the rise in the last few years thanks to Netflix’s global expansion strategy. Although over half of Netflix's streaming subscribers are located in the United States, the company's presence is growing worldwide. Some of the most important markets for Netflix include Mexico, Canada and Brazil. Netflix’s penetration in these markets stood at around 50 percent in the second quarter of 2016. Netflix’s global expansion has a direct impact on its earnings, as the company's annual revenue increased more than tenfold between 2005 and 2016.
Despite the growth of its global services, the United States is still the most important regional market for Netflix. The streaming provider is a leader in the American market, with a strong presence in major cities such San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and New York. Netflix’s main competitors in the subscription video on demand (SVoD) service market in the U.S. are Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. Netflix had over 50 million streaming subscribers in the United States alone as of the first quarter of 2017. About 37 percent of consumers in the U.S. stated that they streamed content from Netflix on a weekly basis in 2016. In line with the growth in number of users, Netflix's streaming revenues in the U.S. have been increasing over the years, showing optimistic projections for the coming years. Revenue of streaming in the U.S. is projected to pass the seven billion U.S. dollar mark by 2020.
Original programming has helped Netflix secure its place in the industry amongst television giants such as HBO, NBC and Showtime. Netflix has made a move into the distribution of original TV series in 2013 with the political drama ‘House of Cards’, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The series, watched by 4.9 million viewers aged 18 to 49 within the first 35 days of its Netflix premiere date, is one of Netflix’s biggest successes in original programming. The female-prison based drama ‘Orange Is the New Black’, the documentary ‘Making a Murderer’, and the series ‘Fuller House’ are some examples of well-received original programs distributed by Netflix. ‘Orange Is the New Black’ and ‘Fuller House’ are particularly popular in the U.S. amongst consumers aged between 18 and 34 years old.
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