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  1. #1
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    [EN] Net neutrality may have lost Netflix as an ally




    Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings says net neutrality isn't Netflix's "primary battle" anymore. "We're big enough to get the deals we want"

    @DanRayburn: "For Netflix, it was always about their bottom line, nothing more"


    Erin Carson
    May 31, 2017

    Netflix is ready to wave the white flag when it comes to the war over net neutrality.

    The Federal Communications Commission want to tear down the rules governing an open internet that were put in place under the previous administration. While Netflix has been a vocal proponent of the rules in the past, CEO Reed Hastings said it isn't his company's fight anymore.

    "We're big enough to get the deals we want," he said during Recode's Code Conference on Wednesday.

    Netflix once stood alongside internet giants like Google, consumer advocates and Democrats in pushing for harder rules that ensured internet providers treated traffic equally. Republicans, pro-business advocates and companies like Comcast and Verizon argue the rules are too onerous and stifle innovation and investment.

    One concern over prioritizing traffic was the idea that smaller players wouldn't be able to compete against larger companies who could afford priority access. That's no longer the case with Netflix, which is one of the largest drivers of video traffic on the internet.

    It's an issue that would have been more important to "the Netflix of 10 years ago," he said.

    Netflix, which was founded in 1997, now has about 93 million subscribers across 190 countries, watching about 1 billion hours of video a week. Whereas Netflix once focused on mailing DVDs to subscribers, the company's branched out over the years, getting into streaming and producing original content through Netflix Originals. The price tag for creating new content in 2017 is about $6 billion, according to the company's first quarter earnings report.

    Hastings said Netflix is still supportive of other companies fighting against the net neutrality rollback— and that in a sense, it's their turn to do so.

    Plus, all that battling might be for naught.

    "I think Trump's FCC is going to unwind the rules no matter what happens," Hastings said. He also expressed some optimism that perhaps internet providers will continue to play fair, even if there are no longer regulations in place.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/net-neutra...COS-05-10aaa0j

  2. #2
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    Netflix and Google Made Big Waves at the Code Conference

    Here's What Else You Just Missed

    Annie Palmer
    Jun 1, 2017

    The Code Conference, Recode's annual conference, just closed out its second day of jam-packed interviews with top executives from Netflix, Google and Time Warner, as well as former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Here's a breakdown of what you might have missed on Wednesday:

    Google pulls no punches: Google CFO Ruth Porat spoke candidly about the tech behemoth's acquisition strategy, failed moonshots (here's looking at you, Google Fiber) and Waymo's ongoing legal battle with Uber over alleged stolen trade secrets. Speaking about the case, which led to the firing of Uber's star engineer Anthony Levandowksi on Wednesday, Porat said Waymo's lawsuit was somewhat out of character for Alphabet, but that the company felt it had no other choice.

    Netflix is so addicting: According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the streaming giant's original TV bets have benefited the most from the binge-watching model, while its original movies have not. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: II," one of Netflix's original films, brought in fewer viewers than the company had hoped, especially given the high cost of production. "Binge viewing is a very novel thing that we pioneered, and there's no movie equivalent...I think it's fair to say we've been amazingly successful at series and we're just getting started on movies."

    Steve Jobs' widow talks: Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of late Apple founder Steve Jobs, said she met with President Donald Trump shortly after he made waves with his immigration policy. Powell Jobs talked to Trump about the Dream Act and carrying out "humane and viable" immigration policy reform. Trump reportedly told her, "I don't want to deport the dreamers."

    An analyst legend weighs in: Longtime internet analyst and venture capitalist Mary Meeker presented her closely watched internet trends report early on Wednesday. The main takeaways: internet advertising spending will surpass total television ad spending in the next six months, retail store closings could soon break a 20-year record and smartphone sales continue to slow.

    Hillary sighting: Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talked extensively about the forces that may have played a part in her losing on Election Day, pointing to disorganization at the Democratic National Committee and FBI Director James Comey's Oct. 28 letter to Congress, among other things, as influential factors.

    About those deals: Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes said one of the reasons the media giant is selling itself to AT&T is to gain better access to consumer data. Also, Time Warner wants to keep better pace with data juggernauts like Google, Facebook and Amazon. "We need to be able to compete with them," he said.

    More media waves: Media mogul Shari Redstone believes she would have worked well with CBS CEO Les Moonves had it and Viacom succeeded in merging, but ultimately, there was better value in keeping them separate, she said. Redstone added that she wanted Moonves to run the proposed combined company, but that he declined.

    https://www.thestreet.com/story/1415...st-missed.html

  3. #3
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    Netflix’s Reed Hastings on Amazon, Net Neutrality, and Theaters

    Tom Huddleston, Jr.
    May 31, 2017

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks of Amazon as an "awfully scary" rival and he no longer views the net neutrality debate as a "primary battle" for his popular streaming company.

    Hastings spoke on a variety of topics—from streaming video rivals to the recent kerfuffle over Netflix movies screening at the Cannes Film Festival—in a pair of interviews on Wednesday afternoon. The Netflix CEO first appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box for an interview before joining tech journalist Peter Kafka on-stage at Recode's Code Conference. Here are some takeaways from Hastings' conversations:

    On Amazon

    Hastings referred to Amazon as "awfully scary" on CNBC that because of Amazon's big spending on original content that is intended to make it more competitive with Netflix. Much like Netflix, Amazon has been acquiring rights to original TV shows and movies in recent years, though it's still expected to spend about $1.5 billion less on original content than Netflix's expected $6 billion this year. Both streaming services have certainly given traditional Hollywood studios runs for their money, including on the awards circuit, with Netflix and Amazon each winning their first Academy Awards earlier this year.

    In both interviews, Hastings described Amazon's streaming model as increasingly broad. "They're trying to be Walmart. We're trying to be Starbucks," Hastings told Recode's Kafka, arguing that Amazon is trying to deliver more types of content to a wider range of audiences. "We can’t try to be them. We’re never going to be as good as them at what they’re trying to be," Hastings said. "What we can be is the emotional connection brand, like HBO."

    Hastings pointed specifically to Amazon's move into live sports, with the company signing a deal to stream Thursday night NFL games in the upcoming season. He said that Netflix has no plans to stream sporting events, even as rivals like Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook sign streaming deals with major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB. "The Internet doesn't yet add much value to the sports experience," he said.

    Net Neutrality

    It wasn't long ago that Netflix and Hastings were leading the charge among online content companies pushing for net neutrality rules to ensure that Internet providers can't throttle certain websites by creating so-called "fast lanes" online. Netflix and its ilk won a major battle last year when an appeals court upheld new FCC rules that would try to keep the Internet unfettered. But under President Donald Trump and new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC now seems intent on rolling back those rules. Meanwhile, Netflix's Hastings has suddenly become relatively quiet on the matter.

    Speaking with Recode on Wednesday, Hastings admitted that net neutrality is "not our primary battle at this point," as the Netflix CEO seemed to concede that the Trump administration will find a way "to unwind the rules no matter what anybody says."

    For Netflix specifically, though, the issue is not as much of a threat as it would have been a decade ago, thanks to the company's big base of subscribers. "It’s not narrowly important to us because we’re big enough to get the deals we want," Hastings admitted. He added that net neutrality is a much more important issue for "the Netflix of 10 years ago" and for innovators and entrepreneurs that have not reached Netflix's massive scale.

    Peak Content

    Much has been made about the increase in the amount of TV and film that's available to consumers, as streaming services churn out original programming to compete with traditional networks and studios. Hastings told Recode that he does not believe that the industry is anywhere near "saturation" in terms of the amount of available programming. Instead, he noted that various tech giants like Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook all have room to try different things as they determine what role they will play in the evolving entertainment landscape—hence those companies' decisions to snatch up live sports content, among other programming.

    "E verybody realizes in the next 20 years, [linear TV content] is all going to move to the Internet," Hastings said. "It’s all going to be on-demand. So, you’ve got this massive ecosystem that’s going to change and everybody’s trying to figure out what piece of that [they] might own and investing in various ways."

    Meanwhile, Netflix's ever-growing budget for original content is still growing after increasing from roughly $5 billion last year to a planned $6 billion in 2017. Hastings told CNBC that Netflix's content budget is going to keep increasing "a lot" as the company's membership keeps growing, with Netflix nearing 100 million global subscribers.

    Movie Theaters

    Hastings told Recode that the recent controversy over Netflix's first-time movie screenings at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival earlier this month was "fantastic" because it resulted in more exposure for the two films his company had competing at the event, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories. Netflix has often butted heads with traditional movie studios and movie theater operators who are not fond of the streaming company's aversion to screening its original films in theaters before releasing them online. But, Hastings said the debate will not last forever, as he predicts the eventual demise of traditional theatrical "windows," the periods between a film's theatrical release and its availability for home-viewing online or in the form of a Blu-Ray/DVD.

    "We’re in a transition period where the movie theater chains around the world are not willing to allow consumers to choose, but eventually they will," Hastings said at the conference.

    Later, an audience member asked Hastings if Netflix would ever consider launching its own chain of movie theaters. Hastings replied that there are "no plans" for Netflix theaters, joking that televisions are so technologically advanced that it wouldn't make sense.

    http://fortune.com/2017/05/31/netfli...et-neutrality/

  4. #4
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    Netflix And Amazon: Competitors Or Complementary?

    Trefis Team
    Jun 1, 2017

    The on-demand streaming space is increasingly getting crowded. While Netflix is the market leader with a 50 million+ strong user base, Amazon Prime Video is making in-roads among viewers with its huge content budget. Social media players such as Facebook and Twitter are also looking to stream live sports and other major events. Google’s YouTube Red is another player which offers subscription based ad-free viewing. While it appears that these on-demand video players are competing fiercely with each other for subscribers, many consumers are opting for more than one subscription for a wider variety of viewing options. Experts believe that Amazon Prime might not be a significant threat to Netflix, since there is significant overlap among users of both services.

    Overlap Between Users Indicates Services Are Complementary

    According to 2016 research by Futuresource, there is high overlap between Netflix and other on demand services, especially Amazon Prime in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. Nearly half of Netflix subscribers also use Amazon Prime Video in the U.K. and the U.S., and 30% of total respondents to the research group’s survey use both Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. The subscription charges for these services – around $10 a month, which is modest relative to many cable subscriptions – make it easier for consumers to subscribe to multiple streaming services in order to increase the variety of content. Accordingly, many of Netflix’s customers view other players as complementary service rather than an alternative to Netflix.

    Differentiated Content Allows Several Players To Thrive

    With Facebook looking to increase its presence in the streaming market, there were fears that it could ultimately become a competitor for Netflix. However, Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings mentioned recently that the two companies are not currently competing in terms of content overlap. While Facebook has big video ambitions, the company is currently looking at live sporting events and creating a social experience around them to attract viewers. It is also working with publishers on its platform to increase video content, but has not yet committed huge funds for creating original content like Netflix. Every player in the streaming segment appears to have a slightly differentiated content strategy, increasing the options for viewers and making these services complementary to each other.

    The success of Amazon Prime Video was initially viewed as a threat to Netflix. However, the subscriber growth for both services, as well as the subscriber overlap, indicates that many customers are choosing to use both services rather than pitting them up against one another. Given the fairly affordable subscription costs and variety of content available on various streaming services, it appears that the overlap of subscribers will continue in the near term.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatsp...-complementary

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