Netflix: We Are the Evolution of Television

Ever since Netflix announced that it was looking to acquire and develop original content, critics have dismissed the move as a weak attempt to try and become more like HBO.

But Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos believes HBO and other media companies with TV Everywhere offerings are actually trying to become more like the on-demand streaming video service. 

“Everyone keeps talking about whether or not Netflix is becoming more like HBO, and the truth is HBO is becoming more like Netflix,” Sarandos said last week, speaking at the Nomura 2nd Annual U.S. Media & Telecom Summit in New York.  “Much more on-demand centric, much more serialized-centric. That’s the evolution of television, to become much more like Netflix.”

Sarandos is, of course, referring to HBO’s HBO Go streaming online video service, which provides HBO subscribers with on-demand access to its movies and original series.

Whereas HBO releases one new episode of its original series every week or every other week, Sarandos said that Netflix plans to launch every episode of upcoming original series like House of Cards all at once. “It’s really taking on-demand to its natural extreme, which is that for every 100,00 people that want to watch every night at 8 p.m., there’s a couple of thousand that want to watch the whole thing this weekend. And I want to be able to service them both," he said

Sarandos added that House of Cards, the upcoming series from David Fincher that stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, was a smart deal because the big names guarantee a sizable built-in viewer base “without spending a nickel in marketing.” He said the big risk is whether or not Fincher & co make a “lousy” show. “We bet that they’re going to make a great show.”

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