“We’re fundamentally in the membership happiness business as opposed to the TV business,” is the way CEO Reed Hastings described his view in Netflix’s first video conference call for analysts. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin and BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield pitched the questions, on a Google Hangout, synthesizing contributions from analysts. And Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos didn’t flinch when Greenfield specifically asked about movies, news, and talk shows. There’s “no reason” why Netflix wouldn’t expand into those areas, he says. Hastings added that “HBO and Showtime do sports.” The observations build on a statement in the company’s Q2 earnings note released this evening. It says that in addition to conventional TV series such as House Of Cards and Arrested Development “we will be expanding our Originals initiative to include broadly appealing feature documentaries and stand-up comedy specials.” Netflix has become “a big destination” for fans of “much loved and often under-distributed genres” Execs avoided specifics when asked to show precisely how original series benefit the company. “When a new member joins they don’t say ‘It’s because of Arrested Development‘,” Hastings says. Sarandos added, though, that original shows “are performing really well for us” — which the company demonstrates by renewing then. The content chief also stood by its deal with DreamWorks Animation, despite the soft domestic opening box office numbers for Turbo. “The rate card adjusts up and down with the performance of the films,” he says, and he’s “very comfortable” with the numbers he has seen “even with Turbo.”
By DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor | Monday July 22, 2013 @ 7:21pm EDTTags: Netflix, Reed Hastings, Ted Sarandos
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