Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, says the biggest challenge for the company in taking on new competitors — such as Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia — is to “not get too distracted” by the slew of new streaming services.
“The key to us is to focus on our customers and how do we produce amazing stories for them. You can learn things by looking at competitors, but you don’t want to get focused on them,” Hastings said at a Netflix press event in Los Angeles on Monday. “All we have to do to succeed is continue to do amazing content, stream it, make it personalized and relevant.”
In terms of one upcoming competitor, Hastings confirmed that Netflix won’t be a part of Apple’s new streaming service, which will reportedly launch next week. That means you won’t be able to subscribe directly to Netflix through Apple’s new service.
“Apple’s a great company,” he said. “We want people to watch our content on our service.”
Hastings noted that it will be difficult to stand up against the deep pockets and deep content archives of massive media companies such as Disney, but that “you do your best job when you have great competitors.”
“They’re going to do some great shows. I’m going to be envious,” he said. “We will make this a better industry if we have great competitors.”
The Netflix chief added that even though there are more streaming options, he doesn’t see a day when there will be too much content.”I want great content, and to do great content we have to do a lot of content,” he said.
Some of Netflix’s current content, such as “Friends,” is licensed from companies that are now becoming competitors.
Netflix made a pricey deal in December to share “Friends” with CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, but on “a nonexclusive basis.” That means WarnerMedia, which owns the sitcom, can monetize the series while it prepares to launch its own streaming service. It can then decide to add it to its own lineup if it wants.
Does Hastings believe that more deals like this are possible as companies launch their own streaming services?
Hastings said that “Friends” is a “special case,” and that the general model of the company is to “figure out new content we can produce, that we can debut that’s known as Netflix content and is exclusive.”