“We never thought we’d operate without competition. We’re surprised it’s taken this long,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told investors today at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference. And he says he’s not concerned after the e-retail power doubled its video streaming library by cutting a deal with EPIX. That became possible after the end of August when terms giving Netflix exclusive Internet rights to the channel expired. “People don’t watch [EPIX’s movies and shows] more because they’re exclusive,” Sarandos says. “Over time it proved to be not differentiated enough” from other programming. What’s more, since EPIX shows run on pay TV before they hit the Internet, the channel “wasn’t that exclusive.”
Sarandos says that’s important because “the most-watched content on Netflix is exclusive to Netflix.” That’s one of the reasons the company is investing in an original series, House Of Cards. Considering how many series fail, what makes Netflix so confident this one will succeed? Sarandos says Netflix makes more “data-centric decisions” than most networks. He was able to analyze how many subscribers like the series’ star, Kevin Spacey, as well as how many rented the BBC series on which the new production is based. “You get a very addressable audience. Better than that, I know exactly who they are.”
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