Netflix CEO Reed Hastings likes Elon Musk, video video games, and binge watching | Darkish Tech

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Netflix doesn’t wish to promote out to Microsoft. He needs to go very deep into the sport enterprise. Elon Musk is a courageous man, and we should always give him some slack. And did we point out that Netflix actually needs to be within the video games?

These are a few of the takeaways from Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings’ look on the New York Occasions Dealbook convention right this moment, and I’ll dig into them in a minute.

However first, some context: I went to right this moment’s occasion as a result of it was a relatively uncommon alternative to see Hastings converse publicly, one thing he has carried out little or no in recent times past the quarterly earnings calls his firm hosts. And we definitely have not heard a lot from Hastings since April, when Netflix introduced a stunning lack of subscribers and, simply as surprisingly, a transfer into promoting, one thing the corporate had at all times insisted it would not do.

These bulletins and the implication behind them (if Netflix, the undisputed chief in streaming, was already beginning to wrestle with development and income, it meant everybody chasing Netflix was going to have the identical issues) helped bitter buyers. of broadcast media. Netflix had been a pioneer within the business.

And as Dealbook host Andrew Ross Sorkin identified, the final time Hastings got here to New York for this convention was three years in the past, just a few months earlier than the pandemic locked down a lot of the world and a time when Netflix was the North Star for streaming, with subsequent to no competitors. However should you had been on the lookout for Hastings to throw a mea culpa about flawed streaming, or anything flawed, you would be dissatisfied on this interview: Hastings nonetheless thinks that just about every thing Netflix was doing three years in the past continues to be proper right this moment. .

However this was a wide-ranging interview and it did not air, so I wish to spotlight just a few highlights right here.

Video games, video games, video games: Netflix first introduced a foray into gaming within the spring of 2021. On reflection, that transfer was a a lot clearer signal that it was apprehensive about the way forward for streaming than most of us realized on the time. And since then, Netflix purchased just a few small recreation studios and launched a pair dozen informal video games. However neither the gaming business nor Wall Avenue appear to suppose that Netflix shall be an actual competitor in gaming. So it was fascinating that all through the interview, Hastings repeatedly talked about his curiosity in gaming, with out prompting him. Netflix, he mentioned again and again, needs to make nice TV exhibits, films and video games. And when requested about Netflix’s well-informed curiosity in getting concerned in sports activities, he responded with this: “Speak to us after we’re a giant chief in gaming. We’ve numerous investments to make within the video games.” Message acquired.

Talking of sports activities: Hastings was circuitously requested about Netflix’s supply for the rights to dwell sports activities (though different executives within the area have instructed me that Netflix has). However when requested about his just lately introduced transfer to livestream a Chris Rock comedy particular subsequent yr, Hastings instantly dismissed the concept this was a precursor to streaming dwell sports activities. “That isn’t true.” Stay streaming, he mentioned, shall be used for issues like comedy, and perhaps “quiz exhibits,” which feels like sports activities to me, however I am assuming you imply issues like Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” actuality exhibits/quiz exhibits.

Netflix + Microsoft = ? When requested to clarify why Netflix selected Microsoft as its associate in its promoting foray, Hastings was fairly clear: Microsoft paid Netflix some huge cash. Or in his phrases: “They had been keen to be very aggressive within the deal.” However Hastings insisted that this doesn’t point out an eventual sale to Microsoft, which many individuals within the business have speculated about. “It is not regular to do enterprise with folks you are attempting to accumulate,” he mentioned. “That makes it extra difficult, not much less.”

Sustain the binge and Chappelle: One of many many issues that Hollywood thinks Netflix ought to do to be extra like Hollywood is to dispense with its custom of canceling all its exhibits directly. Netflix has began to mess around with that concept a bit (this summer time it cut up its most up-to-date Unusual issues season in two items). However Hastings says Netflix will not do away with it as a result of it is not essential (different streamers must air their exhibits, he mentioned, as a result of they do not have as many exhibits folks like) and since prospects prefer it.

Asking if prospects would like a world the place they’ve to attend every week for a brand new episode is pointless, he mentioned, like asking “would you relatively learn yesterday’s information or right this moment’s information?” And Hastings additionally mentioned Netflix has no regrets in regards to the Dave Chappelle specials he launched, by which the comic has more and more targeted on preventing trans activists. These specials have been large hits for the service, he mentioned, and “we would do it repeatedly.”

Elon and Mark: Hastings, who used to serve on Meta’s board of administrators, quietly praised Mark Zuckerberg’s push into digital actuality and the metaverse: “I believe the world ought to say, ‘Thanks, Mark, for shifting this nice know-how ahead.'” , mentioned. he mentioned he. “[But] I do not know if it is nice for shareholders.”

Hastings was excessive about his admiration for Elon Musk, calling him “the bravest and most inventive individual on the planet.” Hastings famous that Musk’s private fashion is extra… bombastic than his, however mentioned Musk’s critics are getting it flawed: “I am 100% satisfied that he is attempting to assist the world,” he mentioned, arguing that we should always reward him for paying $44 billion for Twitter as a substitute of, say, constructing a extremely massive yacht. “Give this man a break.”

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings likes Elon Musk, video games, and binge watching