Netflix CEO Reed Hastings loves Elon Musk, video games, and binge-watching


Netflix doesn’t want to sell itself to Microsoft. She wants to really delve into the gaming field. Elon Musk is a brave man and we should let him go. And did we mention that Netflix really wants to be in the games?

These are some points from Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings’ appearance at today’s New York Times Dealbook conference, and I’ll go into more depth in a minute.

But first, a little context: I went to today’s event because it was a fairly rare opportunity to see Hastings speak publicly—something he hasn’t done much in recent years other than quarterly earnings calls the host company. And we certainly haven’t heard much from Hastings since April, When Netflix announced a shocking subscriber loss – And just as shocking, Moving on to advertising, which the company has always insisted it will not do.

Those ads and the ramifications behind them — if Netflix, the leading streaming company, is really starting to have growth and revenue woes, Then that meant that everyone who hunted down Netflix would have the same problems Helped struggling media investors in the streaming industry pioneered by Netflix.

As Dealbook host Andrew Ross Sorkin points out, the last time Hastings came to New York for this conference was three years ago, a few months before the pandemic hit much of the world, and at a time when Netflix was the North Star of streaming, with Besides, there is no competition. But if you’re looking for Hastings to brush up on a bug in streaming — or anything wrong with it — you’ll be disappointed with this interview: Hastings still believes that everything Netflix did three years ago is still true today.

But this was a wide-ranging interview, and it didn’t air, so I want to pull you up on some highlights here.

Games, games, games: Netflix first announced its foray into video games Again in the spring of 2021. In retrospect, the move was a much clearer sign that she was concerned about the future of broadcasting than most of us would have picked up on at the time. Since then, Netflix has bought a few small game studios and released a few dozen casual games. But neither the gaming industry nor Wall Street seems to believe that Netflix will be a real competitor in gaming. So it was interesting that throughout the interview, Hastings spoke repeatedly about his interest in gaming, without prompting. He said over and over again that Netflix wants to deliver great TV shows, movies, and games. When asked about Netflix’s well-stated interest in getting involved in sportsHe responded with this: “Talk to us after we’re a leader in gaming. We have a lot of investment to do in gaming.” message received.

Speaking of sports: Hastings wasn’t asked directly about Netflix bidding for the rights to live sports (although other executives in the space told me Netflix did). But when asked about his recently announced move to Chris Rock’s Live Comedy Special The following year, Hastings immediately dismissed the idea that this was a precursor to live sports broadcasting. “this is not true.” The live stream would be used for things like comedy, he said, and maybe “racer shows,” any kind of sports to me, but I’m assuming it means things like Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” shows/quizzes.

Netflix + Microsoft =? When asked why Netflix chose Microsoft as their partner in their entry into the advertising business, Hastings was crystal clear: Microsoft paid Netflix a lot of money. Or in his words: “They were willing to be very aggressive in the bargain.” But Hastings insisted that this did not indicate an eventual sale to Microsoft, which many in the industry had speculated. “It’s not normal to do business with people you’re trying to get,” he said. “That makes it more complicated, not less.”

Hold on to the binge, Chappelle: One of the many things Hollywood thinks Netflix should do to be more like Hollywood is ditch its tradition of dropping all of its shows at once. Netflix is ​​starting to toy with this idea a bit (This summer I split the latest ones Weird things Season into two pieces). But Hastings says Netflix won’t get rid of it because it doesn’t need to — other viewers need to get their shows out there, he said, because they don’t have a lot of shows that people like — and because customers love them.

He said that asking him whether customers would prefer a world where they have to wait a week to watch a new episode is nonsensical — it would be more akin to asking “Would you rather read yesterday’s news or today’s news?” Hastings also said that Netflix hasn’t regretted the Dave Chappelle specials it released, in which the comedian has increasingly focused on battling transgender activists. He said those specials were a huge success for the service, and “we’ll do them again and again.”

Elon and Mark: Hastings, who was on Meta’s board of directors, offered muted praise for Mark Zuckerberg’s push into virtual reality and Metaverse: “I think the world should say, ‘Thank you, Mark, for developing this great technology,'” he said.[But] I don’t know if that’s great for shareholders.”

Hastings was beaming with admiration for Elon Musk, whom he called “the bravest and most creative person on the planet.” Hastings noted that Musk’s personal style is more… bombastic than his own, but said Musk’s critics get him wrong: “I’m 100% convinced he’s trying to help the world,” he said, and argued we should praise him for paying $44 billion to Twitter. Instead of building a really big yacht, for example. “Give this guy a break.”



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