Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph
It was quickly apparent what kind of impact Netflix would have on the video rental industry. We've all seen enough abandoned Blockbuster storefronts to bear that out, and co-founders Hastings and Randolph made a lot of money driving big box rental stores out of business. Fifteen years after the first red envelopes were shipped, it's clear that Netflix not only revolutionized how we access TV shows, but also how we watch them.
In the days before Netflix streaming, binge-watching was only available to those willing to fork out forty bucks for a collectors edition season boxed set. If you chose to marathon a show on a whim, it was a pricey whim. A show like Game of Thrones would have been unthinkable in the old TV landscape. The fantasy epic, as well as many other shows flooding the marketplace, are episodic in name alone: watching a random episode is like beginning a novel in the middle. Netflix introduced us to the world of binge-watching, and in this brave new time-wasting world, the idea of an episode has been reconsidered. Though much of television is still conceived to be enjoyed on a half-hour by half-hour basis, shows that pay careful attention to their arcing stories and find ways to reward long-term viewers receive a whole new level of adoration. Netflix has created a world where "episode" defines only duration, not content.