Amazon, Twitter and Facebook have made strong entries into the live programming space -- Amazon and Twitter with streaming NFL games. Facebook still pushes its live efforts, including Major League Baseball games.
All this makes sense when it comes to pursuing big advertising deals. "Live" TV is now almost synonymous with "premium" TV in the eyes of some marketers. And for sellers, that means premium ad pricing.
But when you think of Netflix, do you think of this premium? Not when it comes to certain business-to-business dealings. It takes no advertising.
One more thing on the "premium" front: Didn’t Randall Stephenson, chairman-CEO of AT&T, call Netflix the "Walmart" of the video streaming business and HBO, the "Tiffany"? Not a slight. Netflix does appeal to a broad range of entertainment consumers.
At the recent Vanity Fair event in Los Angeles, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix, wants to focus on entertainment. For Netflix, that means no live sports or live news.
Netflix continues to focus on “on-demand” scripted TV shows and movies — drama and comedies —as well as documentaries. Netflix will spend billions on original content: $8 billion this year. That covers a lot of different types of programming — high-brow, low-brow and everything in between.
Can companies like Netflix spend more and grab even more subscribers in future years -- without expensive live TV?
It is still paying out $100 million-plus deals to major broadcast networks producers like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. Netflix would call these "premium" deals.
Netflix could have the power to go further up the TV food chain in future years -- getting the sports TV franchises like the NFL.
But while it waits -- with "on-demand" pre-taped entertainment programming -- Walt Disney, Comcast and others believe they can get into the game and compete with Netflix.
Will they look to be Walmart or Tiffany? Maybe the network version of Bed Bath and Beyond.