Netflix Somehow Stole My Idea From My Parent’s Suburban Basement

Mr. Francis Esq.
5 min readJan 20, 2020
Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

Everyone thinks Netflix was revolutionary for changing how we watch television.

History wants to give the crown of being there first to the big “N” for pioneering content-on-demand services.

I have a big problem with that.

Because it’s not true.

There was another player in the game long before Netflix.

Their reach wasn’t as vast, but the concept was the same.

It was yours truly, and it was called — Frank’s Flicks.

I ran my streaming service out of my parent’s basement in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.

The catalogue wasn’t as deep as the services that operate now, but I got to tell you, and I write this in all modesty, it was just as entertaining.

Okay, technically, maybe it wasn’t precisely streaming, but the model was the same.

I was the face of what I believed to be at the time, a cutting edge operation, well actually, I was more than that.

I was the entire service.

In the early days, my streaming experiment ran only on Saturday nights.

The week leading up to the presentation of programming was when the selections were made.

I’d canvas mom and dad, and if I felt like it, my younger, stupid brothers, about what they were in the mood for.

What they wanted to watch on a Saturday night.

Not that my brothers had any opinions other than asking mom if we could have pizza for dinner and if she’d take them to the hockey rink for the trillionth time.

This programming revolution started because back in the mid-’70’s I was tired of the family, and when I say family, I mean me, was tired of being at the whim of whatever crap was on the five or six channels we got on our television at the time.

This was in the early 1970s, before VHS or Betamax for you losers out there who went with that format.

The notion of circumventing these limited choices and paving a new content path came about because I was in the local library one afternoon.

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Mr. Francis Esq.

Mr. Francis Esq. hails from parts unknown of the Empire. And has just published his frightfully entertaining gift book — How Not To: Survive A Pandemic.