Reed Hastings examines Netflix performance during and post the pandemic period

Reed Hastings, CEO at Netflix, gave an interview to the specialized website Variety due to the launch of his new book ‘No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention’. In it, the executive analyzed various topics related to Netflix and the industry, such as the impact of the pandemic, the production of Netflix original content for this year and 2021, the main competing companies,and other issues.

During the interview, Hastings confirmed the decision not to include advertising in the content available on Netflix.  ‘It is a belief we can build a better business, a more valuable business without advertising. There’s much more growth in the consumer market than there is in advertising, which is pretty flat. I would say our subscription-focused strategy’s worked pretty well’, reported the executive. Likewise, in relation to possible future content to be included in the Netflix catalog, Hastings said that sports could take place, but not news content. I doubt news, but sports, video gaming, user-generated content – if you think of the other big categories, someday it could make sense’. But, right now, according to Hastings, Netflix will continue to invest in the making of movies, series and animated content.

The executive also expressed that he plans to leave Netflix in the coming years. ‘I guess it is the beginning of the end in the sense that eventually, I will be gone. At least for the next decade, I am super-excited by what we are doing and full-time, so it was a statement that it is not a short-term situation’, he reported. Also, in relation to decisions that he would make in retrospect, Hastings reported that I think in hindsight, because it worked out, I would say we could have done more in original programming faster. With animation for example, there are such long lead times there. I think we are pretty bold at it and learning, doing better and better’, he said, and  highlighted the 160 Emmy Awards that Netflix has won this year, as well as the growth of the platform’s subscribers base, which, in Latin America, already records more than 36 million subscribers. ‘We are making good progress’, Hastings said in this regard. 

Regarding the Coronavirus pandemic impact on Netflix original productions content, the executive reported that ‘this year, we have got ‘The Crown’ (Season 4, premiering next November 15th) and other originals; all stuff filmed pre-COVID. Next year, we have got a great selection of content. It is still more originals than this year. It is not up by as much as we first forecast, but it is up on a year-over-year basis’. In addition, he said that  ‘we are all hopeful for a vaccine, so we can get back to more intensive work’. In addition, he gave details of the company’s coming plans: ‘What is next is becoming a great Turkish developer of content, becoming a great Egyptian developer of content, and sharing that with the world’, he explained.

‘In many things, we cooperate with the other entertainment companies — like antipiracy, those kinds of things. It is not like they are our mortal enemy, and if they have great titles it grows the total market as opposed to taking away from us. It is kind of like a race where we are all trying to please the consumer, but there are multiple winners in the race. And sure, we would like to get the gold medal’, said Hastings when referring himself to other entertainment companies. He also reflected about Netflix’s closer competitors, like Amazon, Hulu and YouTube, and reported that on Netflix they are ‘a real entertainment brand, much more like HBO. We compete with them by doing great content and pleasing people, but really it’s the focus of the brand. That is what people talk about’.