March 18, 2019
Netflix co-founder/CEO Reed Hastings has steadfastly championed new competitors in the burgeoning subscription streaming video-on-demand ecosystem.
With the arrival of an Apple streaming video service expected to be announced on March 25 — without Netflix, according to Hastings — followed by Disney+ at the end of the year, and over-the-top platforms from WarnerMedia and Comcast in 2020, Netflix is about to get its most-serious streaming competition since launching OTT service in 2007.
Hastings, per usual, is taking it all in stride.
“We will make this a better industry if we have better competitors,” the CEO told attendees March 18 at Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters. “All we have to do to succeed is to continue to stream great content and not get too distracted.”
Indeed, with the service projected to reach 148 million paid subscribers worldwide by the end of the first quarter (ended March 31), Netflix has effectively become the largest pay-TV service globally.
At the same time as subscribers consume increasing amounts of original and third-party content, Netflix is winning the battle for OTT video eyeballs.
“I think of it as us winning time away — entertainment time — from other activities,” Hasting said in January on the fourth-quarter webcast. “So, instead of doing Xbox and Fortnite or YouTube or HBO or a long list, we want to win and provide a better experience, [with] no advertising, on-demand [and] incredible content.”
The executive said Netflix — unlike branded services such as HBO, Showtime and Starz — offers content across a wide spectrum genres and interests, which Hastings characterized as a well-balanced stock portfolio.
“We compete so broadly with all of these providers that any one provider entering only makes a difference on the margin,” he said in January. “So, that’s why we don’t get so focused on any one competitor. I really think our best way is to win more time by having the best experiences in all the things that we do.”