Netflix box Reed Hastings recently revealed a few choice nuggets of wisdom concerning the current state of his business and the direction it could be headed in the future. It’s well worth a read.
Netflix continues to go from strength-to-strength, with more subscribers, more content, and more revenue being added by and to the company all the time. And this rise to the top doesn’t look like stopping or even slowing down anytime soon.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who has been an outspoken source for tasty quotes over the years, recently spoke to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo. And some of what he had to say was both surprising and interesting.
Hastings Speaks Out
Asked about the concerns that Netflix will affect premium cable channels such as HBO, Hastings said:
“We compete with HBO like baseball and football compete. We sell to the same person, we deliver some of the same emotion, but it’s not direct competition. People subscribe to both. And the people who love us often subscribe to HBO. They don’t have any of the same content we have, and we don’t have any of the content they have. So it’s a pretty indirect competition for time and money.”
That’s a pretty good analogy if you ask me. Hastings went on to say that Netflix has created a “new market where consumers get to choose what they want, and it’s on demand, and it’s a very different experience” from premium cable channels such as HBO.
On the subject of House Of Cards, Netflix’ first foray into original programming, Hastings compared it to the purchase of Glee and Mad Men, the only difference being that the former will premiere on Netflix. He went on to say “it’s a small part of what we do, as a test,” and that it was “very unlikely” to become a regular part of Netflix’ business.
Kafka then mentioned the idea of “extending the life of shows they [networks] were going to cancel if you’re going to pay them to keep going. Does that make sense?” Hastings replied:
“Yes. For example, ‘Friday Night Lights’ wasn’t going to get continued two seasons ago on NBC, and DirecTV did a deal to extend that show. So we can see ourselves doing something like that–extending a season of something that was doing well on Netflix.”
That is an intriguing concept and one that I could get fully behind. Who hasn’t been gutted to hear their favorite show is being canceled due to the network not being happy with the ratings? If Netflix could then step in and fund another season or two, if only to conclude the story, then that would be fantastic for both sides.
Hastings is also good value, and this interview is no exception. What he had to say about original content and extending the life of canceled network shows is especially intriguing as it suggests Netflix is moving beyond its original borders and evolving into something different and much more powerful.
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