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People mind-blown after realising how Netflix got its name

People mind-blown after realising how Netflix got its name

Former Netflix CEO Marc Randolph revealed the firm were operating under the name 'Kibble' before they officially launched

It's a word that has wormed it's way into our daily vocabulary, which we now even use as a verb, but Netflix wasn't always going to be the name for the biggest streaming service in the world.

Hilariously, former CEO and co-founder Marc Randolph revealed that the firm was actually operating under the name 'Kibble' before they launched - and yes, he does mean kibble like the animal feed.

The 66-year-old, among other Netflix employees, are obviously now thanking their lucky stars that they steered clear of using a name which has strong connotations to a dog's dinner.

And, as Randolph explained in a LinkedIn post last year, 'Kibble‘n’chill doesn't really have the same ring to it' does it?

Although you may be thinking he sounds barking mad, there was in fact a method to his madness, which led to the team choosing the memorable moniker we all know and love.

Where did Kibble come from?

The businessman said there were three reasons for him choosing this bizarre name ahead of taking the company public.

He wrote: "First, I was very concerned about building a service that looked good, but that nobody wanted to use.

"So I choose Kibble to remind us of the old advertising adage that, 'It doesn’t matter how good your dog food advertising campaign is if the dogs won’t eat the dog food'."

Randolph then explained that it's actually really difficult to come up with a good name which also ticks all of the boxes.

The former Netflix boss pointed out that it needs to be 'evocative of the service you’re trying to provide, easy to pronounce, short and easy to spell' - and most importantly, that it 'doesn't mean something obscene in Norwegian'.

The meaning behind the name Netflix is blowing peoples minds (Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The meaning behind the name Netflix is blowing peoples minds (Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On top of that, you've got to make sure somebody else hasn't already thought of it, trademarked it and purchased the domain names.

So, by picking a silly pre-launch name - which Randolph refers to as a 'beta name' - such as Kibble, he reckons that as they are so ridiculous, you will never just give in and use it out of desperation instead of going back to the drawing board.

The third reason he was keen to use Kibble for the time being was that 'it was only six letters' and he already owned the domain. And you can't really argue with that, can you?

Netflix naysayers

Randolph admitted his team were 'stuck' on deciding a name - as well as revealing that although Netflix was in the mix, 'none of us really liked it'.

He explained: "To start, it reminded people of Skin-Flicks (which is what people in the 80s and 90s used to call pornos). "And of course there was that 'X'. But it had one distinct advantage. It was delivery agnostic. It meant that once DVDs had their time and we had to shift to entirely digital delivery, we’d be ready."

"By positioning ourselves as the best place to find movies you love and not just as a DVD-delivery service, we ensured we'd be ready to adapt to future innovations and disruptions, no matter what.

Former CEO Randolph revealed some of the name suggestions they were toying with (X/@mbrandolph)
Former CEO Randolph revealed some of the name suggestions they were toying with (X/@mbrandolph)

"The name Netflix gave us the gift of flexibility, a must-have trait for every start-up."

He also shared an image of the list of potential names they were working with at the time in a post on X last year.

Some suggestions included 'Take One,, FastForward, NowShowing, DirectPix, CinemaCenter and Webflix.

As you can see, the main aim was to make it abundantly clear exactly what it was which they were offering.

What 'Netflix' means

Which is ultimately why Netflix was the name that was chosen - as it literally describes how people are browsing or watching 'flicks' on the 'net'.

Often, the most obvious answer is the correct one.

But a lot of people were completely unaware about this - and it's safe to say their minds were blown when they found out.

One social media user said: "Whoever came up with the name Netflix really snapped calmly. The flicks...but make it on the net."

Another wrote: "I just realised that NETFLIX has its name because it has FLICKS.. on the NET... "InterNET...NET...FLIX omgggg!"

A third added: "Someone just explained to me the Netflix means a 'net' full of 'flicks'. I’m honestly shooketh."

While a fourth added: "'NETFLIX'. NET = Internet; FLIX = movies (eg, chick flicks)...Netflix = online movies. Its not just a random name!"

Featured Image Credit: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images/Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Topics: Netflix, Business, TV and Film