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Reed Hastings built one of the most important companies on the internet, and Hollywood is scrambling to catch up

Hastings is No. 12 on the Recode 100.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Ten years ago, Netflix had zero streaming video subscribers. Now it has more than 100 million across the world.

You can ask plenty of questions about the company led by Reed Hastings, but for now, all of them remain secondary to its growth story, which has enabled it to become one of the most important forces on the internet.

Hollywood and TV moguls used to treat Netflix as a cash machine — the place where they dumped all their reruns and got free money in return. Then they started to view it as a competitor.

Now they view it as the company they desperately want to emulate: Every big media company has either launched a service to sell digital video directly to consumers, or is building one of their own.

They will need to move much more quickly than they are use to doing: Netflix may spend up to $8 billion on programming next year, which it will use to make more stuff to attract more subscribers, which will give it more money to make more programming to attract more subscribers. Hard to catch up.

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