May 31, 2017

Netflix vs live programming: CEO says no sports, news

Manu Fernandez / AP

Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings spoke with CNBC's Squawk Alley this morning from this year's Code Conference, discussing today's big premiere of season 5 of House of Cards and what's next for the streaming service. Three interesting tidbits…

  1. Netflix's future focus: The company will remain focused on TV and movies, and it has no plans to jump into news or sports as Hastings doesn't want "content that you only want to consume once."
  2. How people watch: Hastings said that two-thirds of viewers watch on large screen televisions, but noted that there's still a lot of room to grow in an Asian market that is much more mobile-centric.
  3. China? "I think that's off the table for the next couple years."

Other things of note:

  • On Amazon: "They're so scary. Everything Amazon does is just so amazing…I don't know if they're the biggest threat, but they're awfully scary."
  • Net neutrality: "Even if [the Trump administration] undermines the Title II rules, my guess would be the net neutrality rules are still followed."
  • How shows get chosen: "Theres some analysis that goes on, but I would say it's fundamentally a creative bet."
  • Will he share House of Cards' ratings? "Absolutely not."
  • What he's watching on Netflix: Force Majeure
  • Netflix's next big show: GLOW, which will premiere this summer from Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan.

Update: Hastings also spoke later in the morning at the Code Conference, talking up the company's efforts to produce original shows for India especially, but also in Germany, Turkey, Brazil and elsewhere.

"The big focus is on international," Hastings said. In many cases, content created for one market still has appeal elsewhere in the globe.

China, he said, though proved to have too many regulatory hurdles. "We probably assessed it wrong," he said, saying the company's natural optimism it could launch there eventually got "beat down."

Some other highlights from his Code appearance:

On Amazon v. Netflix: "They are trying to be Walmart; we are trying to be Starbucks."

On the possibility of ads on Netflix: "We're really committed to an ad-free experience." (Applause from crowd.)

On net neutrality: The Trump Administration is going to roll back rules no matter what anybody says. Hastings said Netflix still believes in net neutrality, but it is no longer their top policy priority.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,131,713 — Total deaths: 59,884 — Total recoveries: 233,591Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 278,458 — Total deaths: 7,159 — Total recoveries: 9,897Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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