Hastings: Competition helping Netflix
Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus, while not exactly close companions, are performing a friendly service for Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) by helping the relationships the streaming service provider has with studios, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said.
Competition leads to bidding for programming, so studios don't have to worry that Netflix will dominate the space or be concerned about the money they are paid for their products, Hastings said.
"One fear [studios] had is that we would run away with the prize... They don't feel as strategically vulnerable," Hastings said at Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in a story carried by CNET. "It's an overall healthier situation than it was two years ago."
Netflix, which has been riding pretty high among the money folks since reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings, is also working around the studios by producing its own content, a la "House of Cards" and the one-and-done "Arrested Development."
While the carrier is expecting to produce some other original content, such as a horror series "Hemlock Grove," it will still be heavily dependent on the studios for movie and television content, Hastings said.
"I don't want you guys to think of us as the 'original content company,'" he told the analysts at the conference. Instead, he said, Netflix wants to follow the pay TV example of mixing original content with movies and be "the HBO of [the streaming video] space."
As for the competition, he said, "we want them to be smaller."
In other news, Netflix updated its mobile app to version 3.0 by adding multiple user interface improvements, including making titles of shows and movies easily visible when the screen is tapped. Playback buttons have been moved to a different position, and the zoom icon, which had been removed, as returned to the display.
Commentary: A new salvo in the content licensing wars