Netflix: What Happens When You Press Play?

High Scalability:

Given our discussion in the What is Cloud Computing? chapter, you might expect Netflix to serve video using AWS. Press play in a Netflix application and video stored in S3 would be streamed from S3, over the internet, directly to your device.

A completely sensible approach…for a much smaller service.

But that’s not how Netflix works at all. It’s far more complicated and interesting than you might imagine.

To see why let’s look at some impressive Netflix statistics for 2017.

  • Netflix has more than 110 million subscribers.
  • Netflix operates in more than 200 countries.
  • Netflix has nearly $3 billion in revenue per quarter.
  • Netflix adds more than 5 million new subscribers per quarter.
  • Netflix plays more than 1 billion hours of video each week. As a comparison, YouTube streams 1 billion hours of video every day while Facebook streams 110 million hours of video every day.
  • Netflix played 250 million hours of video on a single day in 2017.
  • Netflix accounts for over 37% of peak internet traffic in the United States.
  • Netflix plans to spend $7 billion on new content in 2018.

What have we learned? 

Netflix is huge. They’re global, they have a lot of members, they play a lot of videos, and they have a lot of money.

As you’re slumped in front of the next auto-playing episode you probably aren’t thinking about how Netflix works but this article explains it.