There's a fortune to be earned through the stock market. Although uncommon, the best stocks can help their investors accumulate impressive wealth by rising many times in value. One of these companies is Netflix (NFLX). 

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Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founders, had the innovative idea to let people rent DVDs through the mail. In an era when Blockbuster Video was king, this turned out to be a genius concept. 

 

In 1997 the company debuted and Netflix.com, their DVD rental site, launched online the next year. In 1999, Netflix started their DVD-by-mail subscription service which would become hugely popular in time. 

 

Three years later, on May 23rd, 2002, Netflix stock began trading on the Nasdaq. Its initial public offering was originally priced at $15 per share. Netflix's share price and membership metrics spiked upwards in the following months, after shedding more than half its value. Netflix hit 1 million subscribers in 2003, a figure which rose to 5 million three years later. Along the way its stock value increased multiple times. 

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In 2007, Netflix allowed their subscribers the ability to stream shows and movies via the internet, an innovative move. Soon, Hastings realized that for the entertainment industry, streaming was the future, and made moves to center Netflix's operations around the technology. 

 

Hastings made a controversial decision in 2011 by separating Netflix's streaming service and DVD business.

Subscribers weren't pleased and Hastings held off for the time being, but continued to focus on the company's streaming future. Netflix's streaming service would go on to grow rapidly and turn subscribers away from the traditional cable industry. 

 

Having expanded into a total of 130 countries, Netflix's streaming gains accelerated in 2016. The international expansion helped boost its membership base to over a 100 million subscribers in 2017.

 

As of today, Netflix's streaming service operates in over 190 countries and 30 languages. Now its worldwide membership base counts with an astounding 195 million people. 

 

Netflix has split its stock on two occasions since its IPO in 2002. In 2004 the first 2-for-1 stock split occurred. In 2015, a 7-for-1 stock split was offered. This means that if you had purchased just one share of Netflix's stock on the day of its IPO and kept it throughout the years, today you would have 14 shares. 

If you'd bought $1,000 worth of shares at the time of Netflix's IPO, you would have attained roughly 66 shares. After Netflix's two stock splits, these would become 924 shares, and at the impressive current stock price of $519 per share, today the shares would have a value of over $470,000. 

 

Not bad going for what was originally a fledgling DVD rental company. 

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