Netflix faces growing competition from on-demand streaming businesses such as Amazon and Hulu, but CEO Reed Hastings believes those mark only one principal challenge.
“The bigger competition is likely to be TV Everywhere,” he told investors this week.
So far, cable and satellite operators have had fits and starts in developing robust, content-rich services to offer content anytime, anywhere, anyhow. But once cable/satellite/telco operators can market it along with other products, such as traditional on-demand and DVRs, why would people spend an extra $8 for Netflix?
Hastings says the goal is to get his company's content to be "so unique" that by the time cable can work well on mobile devices, people will already be subscribing to Netflix. He hopes it will be "a real network in the way that, say, HBO is."
Netflix hopes to have success with the recent launch of original series “House of Cards” with Kevin Spacey. In general, with original series, Netflix has advantages similar to those of cable networks over broadcast networks, Hastings indicated. With more than 25 million subscribers, not every new series has to be a big hit; there’s plenty of room for niche appeal, so there is probably no need for series cancellations.
“We’re not programming to the limited shelf space of broadcast television … we think we can do originals at great economic advantage to other people,” he said.
One of the coming new series is a revival of “Arrested Development.” Netflix, however, only plans to offer one season. Netflix can differentiate itself not just with originals, but perhaps by cutting deals with networks for exclusive content that prevents an operator offering it via a TV Everywhere service.