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 125 million monthly subscribers throughout 190 countries. As of October 11, 2018, shares of NFLX were up nearly 60% year to date (YTD).
The following are the top three shareholders of Netflix, followed by the top 3 institutional and mutual fund investors.
The CEO and founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, owns 5.5 million shares indirectly through a trust along with 5.2 million in stock options giving him beneficial ownership of 2.48% of the company as of the company's last proxy filing with the SEC.
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.
Neil D. Hunt
Neil D. Hunt is the former chief product officer (CPO) at Netflix. Hunt owns 401,296 shares in addition to stock options to acquire 844,641 shares more. He had been with Netflix since 1999 and stepped down in 2017. Hunt led the product development team that designs and optimizes the Netflix service experience. He received various performance-driven stock and option grants in addition to his salary of $1 million and a bonus of $5.25 million in 2016. Prior to Netflix, Hunt had product development roles at Pure Atria, Rational Software and Pure Software. He is also a non-executive board member of Logitech Inc. (NASDAQ: LOGI).
Ted Sarandos is Netflix's chief content officer. His ownership of 497,699 shares makes him the third-largest individual shareholder in the company. Sarandos, 53, has led content acquisition for Netflix since 2000 and spearheaded the company's transition into original content starting 2013. His 20-year career in media and entertainment spans across many diverse roles including an executive at video distributor ETD and Video City/West Coast Video and an award-winning documentary producer.
Top Institutional Shareholders
In addition to corporate insiders, NFLX shares are owned in substantial quantities by institutional investors and mutual funds. As of 2Q 2018, non-mutual fund institutional ownership is dominated by Capital Research Global Investors, which owns 37.6 million shares, or 8.64% of the company. The Vanguard Group owns 29.9 million shares (6.87%) and Blackrock claims 27.4 million shares (6.3%). In the mutual fund space, Growth Fund of America has 21.5 million shares (4.94%), the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index fund owns 9.9 million shares (2.28%), and the Fidelity Contrafund has a 2.19% stake in the company with 9.5 million shares held.