Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the world's largest online video streaming service and domestic DVD-by-mail delivery service. The company has evolved into an internet television network creating its own brand of movies, series and documentaries. It has approximately 104 million monthly subscribers throughout 190 countries. Netflix reported 2016 revenues of $8.8 billion, up 30.25% year over year (YOY). As of October 16, 2017, shares of NFLX were up nearly 61% year to date (YTD) — much due to a surprising growth in subscribers in the second quarter. The subscription growth is expected to reflect a similar momentum in the third quarter as well. The following are the top three shareholders of Netflix.

Reed Hasting

The CEO and founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, owns 11.8 million shares. Hastings founded Pure Software in 1991 and sold his company to Rational Software in 1997 for $700 million. Hastings teamed up with Marc Randolph to form Netflix in August 1997. Hasting financed the startup with $2.5 million in seed money as a service to rent and sell DVDs over the internet. With 30 employees and a catalog of 925 rental titles, Netflix officially kicked off its online service in August 1998. The company introduced its subscription-based DVD-by-mail rental plan in 1999. It went public in February 2002, and co-founder Marc Randolph cashed out and left the company to pursue other ventures. In 2007, Netflix reached the 1 million subscriber mark and recorded its first profitable quarter.

Hastings envisioned the future in on-demand video streaming as it cut out expenses such as postage, packaging and warehouse storage for physical DVDs. As a result, Netflix launched an internet video streaming service option at no extra cost — which is what most people use today rather than the DVD rental service.

Jay C. Hoag

Jay C. Hoag owns more than 6.4 million shares. Hoag is the general partner at Team Crossover Ventures (TCV), a venture capital and management firm for technology companies. TCV has raised $7.7 billion and led investments in Facebook Inc, Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) and Netflix. Hoag serves on the board of directors of Netflix as well as Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), Zillow Group Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) and TechTarget Inc. (NASDAQ: TTGT). Hoag's firm shrewdly purchased an additional $200 million of Netflix convertible debt in 2011 during the Quikster debacle when shares plummeted.

Neil D. Hunt

Neil D. Hunt is the chief product officer (CPO) at Netflix. Hunt owns 1.39 million shares. He has been with Netflix since 1999. Hunt leads the product development team that designs and optimizes the Netflix service experience. He receives various performance-driven stock and option grants in addition to his salary of $1 million and a bonus of $5.25 million (2016). Prior to Netflix, Hunt had product development roles at Pure Atria, Rational Software and Pure Software. He is also a nonexecutive board member of Logitech Inc. (NASDAQ: LOGI).

(All numbers are according the 2017 Proxy Statement filed with the SEC)

Want to learn how to invest?

Get a free 10 week email series that will teach you how to start investing.

Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox.