Netflix founder, chairman and now co-CEO Reed Hastings said Thursday he wants the service “to have so many hits that you know when you come to Netflix you can just go from hit to hit to hit and never have to think about any of those other services.”
Speaking on video call for investors, he acknowledged the occasional detour was inevitable with a shout out to Hamilton on Disney+ that hit the service on July 4th weekend. The movie of Lin Manuel Miranda’s now iconic musical sparked a surge of downloads of the Disney+ app.
“We want to be like your primary, your best friend, the one you turn to,” he said. “And of course, occasionally there’s Hamilton and you’re going to go to someone else’s service for an extraordinary film. But for the most part we want to be the one that can just always please you, be the convenient, simple easy choice.”
Hastings was responding to a question he gets asked every quarter about Netflix’ competitive position. He can throw shade but he also takes a birds-eye view, denying this is a zero-sum game because streaming is just one of many entertainent options vying for people’s time (like Xbox, Fortnite, YouTube or HBO or a long list, he said on one call).
But with four new services (Apple+, Disney+, HO Max and Peacock) launched since last fall alongside older rivals Amazon and Hulu, he was more specific today — this is a fight won by hits and he wants to cement Netflix’ place in the streaming universe.
So far Netflix is in a good place, the the foundational service with a hard-to-match two hours of daily viewing per subscriber and relatively low churn.
Last quarter, Hastings praised Disney+ execution, which he called usually excellent for a “traditional media company.” He said Netflix would just focus on itself, not rivals, because “there’s nothing we can do about them.”
The call today was to discuss the company’s second quarter earnings and subscriber growth, which both jumped but are likley to moderate in the second half. Chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who will be sheparding the hits that keep viewers watching, was elevated to co-CEO.