In the early years after Netflix launched in 1997, its customer service lines were pummelled with requests from people asking “What’s my kway-way?”
The Netflix queue is the tool subscribers use to organise the movies they want to watch.
Rivals have adopted this feature as well. One example is that Amazon has a “Books Queue” which invites subscribers to advertise the books they plan to read with other people.
Netflix didn’t popularise the word, but “queue” became commonly associated with the streaming service in 2004.
The term is used in Britain to describe what Americans usually call a “line,” as in people lining up to get into a movie.
It has been used in British and American computing to describe coded command orders since the 1960s, but TNR’s Alice Robb writes that the idea to use the term as the name for Netflix’s method of prioritizing your orders came from chief product officer Neil Hunt, who happens to hail from England.