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The world has changed a little since 1998. Back then, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph spotted the potential to set up a company that would rent out the new-fangled DVD by post. The aim was to disrupt the old order, which involved going to your local video store, renting a VHS tape and then taking it back after watching it. It is remarkable that, just 20 years ago, this antediluvian process was the norm, supporting an enormous infrastructure of bricks-and-mortar stores and employees that have subsequently gone the way of the dodo. Now the happy consumer can remain recumbent in his or her recliner and, for a small monthly subscription, summon up a bewildering range of content with the remote control in one hand and a glass of something refreshing in the other. The effect, in terms of obesity and overarching idleness, remains to be assessed, but there’s no doubt Netflix is a cracking good product, as 125m global subscribers as of April will attest. The company’s share price has rockete...

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