Netflix & Amazon Slapped With Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit By Former Exec

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 8:29pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGENetflix and Amazon are streaming-service rivals, but today the two were united as defendants in a multimillion-dollar defamation and wrongful-termination lawsuit by a former employee of both companies. In his suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), which also names top Netflix execs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos as defendants, Jerry Kowal is seeking at least $1 million — and damages potentially worth millions more. netflixThe former Director of Content Acquisition for Netflix claims he was “blacklisted” by the company after he left to join Amazon’s streaming business and that Netflix falsely accused him “of stealing confidential information, disclosing confidential information to Amazon, and using confidential information to compete against Netflix.” In what the suit refers to as “theAmazon logo proverbial David and Goliath,” Kowal says Netflix “did everything it could to dissuade him” from leaving to join Amazon. And when he did exit in June after a year on the job, Netflix “proceeded to interfere with Kowal’s employment with Amazon in a malicious attempt to ruin his reputation and prevent him from working there and leverage its substantial business relationship with Amazon to guarantee that Kowal would be terminated from his position at Amazon and would be substantially hindered in his efforts to secure comparable replacement employment.” Read More »

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Netflix CEO Says Comcast Imposed An “Arbitrary Tax” In Interconnection Deal

Will Netflix end up challenging Comcast’s $45.2B deal to buy Time Warner Cable? It didn’t look that way last month when they made what they described at the time as a “mutually beneficial” interconnection deal that involved Netflix payments to Comcast. Read More »

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Netflix Execs Say No Worries As Spending Rises “Dramatically” For Original Shows, And Maybe Movies

By | Wednesday January 22, 2014 @ 3:59pm PST

Many investors fear that Netflix is committing too much cash to original productions — but Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told analysts this evening not to fret: House Of Cards Emmy BBQ TruckWhile his recent project commitments will take … Read More »

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Obama Offered ‘House Of Cards’ Role By Netflix CEO: Video

By | Tuesday December 17, 2013 @ 10:18am PST

Obama-Hollywood-c__131126053020__131207184450__131212224847Now this would be a cameo that would render even Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood speechless. Reed Hastings today publicly hit up President Obama to appear on House Of Cardsin which Spacey plays the loquacious, ambitious and ruthless U.S. congressman. A little less than two months before Season 2 of the show debuts, the offer from the Netflix CEO came during a photo op at the White House this morning as Obama met with Hastings and other tech company CEOs and bosses to discuss the troubled Obamacare website and the government’s national security surveillance efforts. According to the White House pool report, the President was overheard asking Hastings,  “I’m just wondering if you brought advance copies of House of Cards?” The report adds, “the exec laughed and invited Obama to do a cameo on the series.” The President also joked that Spacey’s Underwood is “getting a lot of stuff done” and “I wish things were that ruthlessly efficient” in the real-life DC. That drew a big laugh from Hastings, Apple’s Tim Cook, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and the 12 other tech bosses in attendence. Listen carefully and watch the exchange between Obama and Hastings:

houseofcards__131213044101-275x106Obama isn’t the only prominent DC resident to be a fan of the show. House Of Cards has been a favorite of many politicians since its February 1 debut this year. So much so that Spacey even starred in a House Of Nerds video mocking DC at this spring’s White House Correspondents Dinner. Read More »

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Netflix Execs Say They’re Interested In Producing Movies But Not Sports

By | Monday October 21, 2013 @ 3:04pm PDT

A lot of tidbits from Netflix‘s quarterly conference call with analysts — including the fact that the final season of Breaking Bad won’t be available on the service until 2014. But one of the most interesting disclosures is that the execs want to back movies — which they would transmit to living rooms faster than conventional Hollywood productions do. The company is “actively looking at documentaries,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says, though he adds that he’ll “keep my mind wide open” for other genres. The company’s intrigued in part because it wouldn’t have to wait for its titles to sell on home video before it can stream them to subscribers. “Even though that window is moving, it isn’t moving aggressively enough,” he says. A more aggressive timetable “would be good for our members.” But he squashed a recent report in The Wall Street Journal that said Netflix might be interested in cutting a deal to offer NFL games. “We’re still not interested in sports,” he says, calling matches “primarily a linear experience.”

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Netflix Wins Dismissal Of Investors’ Class Action Streaming Suit

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 9:52am PDT

The online streaming and DVD rental service can take one putative securities class action out of its instant queue. A federal judge Tuesday dismissed the amended suit by investors claiming that Netflix played fast and … Read More »

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Netflix CEO Says He Wants “More And More Content”: Video

By | Tuesday July 23, 2013 @ 7:38am PDT

Netflix shares are down about 3.6% this morning as investors digest its better-than-expected Q2 earnings, and slightly disappointing subscriber growth numbers. But CEO Reed Hastings remains sanguine, telling CNBC that with a sub fee of $7.99 a month “our model works great as is.” … Read More »

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Netflix Says It Will Try New Genres For Originals, Possibly Movies, News And Talk

By | Monday July 22, 2013 @ 4:21pm PDT

“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. … Read More »

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Brian Grazer: Talking to Netflix About More ‘Arrested Development’

Brian Grazer, whose Imagine TV produces Arrested Development, said his company is in talks with Netflix about doing a fifth season of the former Fox comedy series. It would be the second batch of episodes … Read More »

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Netflix Shareholders Overwhelmingly Support Corporate Governance Reforms

By | Friday June 7, 2013 @ 4:08pm PDT

Investors rarely reject management’s views on such matters, especially at a time when a company’s stock is soaring. Yet despite the 250% increase in Netflix‘s price during the past 12 months, shareholders today resoundingly supported several changes to democratize the way the company is run. A motion to repeal the classified board — where the seven directors serve multiyear terms, and only a few are up for re-election each year — won with 88.4% support. More than 80% said that uncontested board candidates should only be elected if they win a majority of the vote. A similar number want shareholder motions to pass with a majority vote — ending requirements for a supermajority. And 73% want Netflix’s chairman to be an independent director, which would mean that Reed Hastings couldn’t be both CEO and chairman. Read More »

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Reed Hastings On ‘Arrested Development’, Hulu, And Netflix As The Next HBO: Video

By | Wednesday May 29, 2013 @ 11:13am PDT

CNBC sat down with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the sidelines of the AllThingsD conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA this morning. Hastings was of course mum on providing ratings data for its new original series Arrested Development, which premiered this week, saying the company was more interested in … Read More »

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UPDATE: Number Of Titles Leaving Netflix Today Close To 1K

By | Wednesday May 1, 2013 @ 3:10pm PDT

UPDATE, 3:10 PM: Clarifying statements from the involved parties have been flooding in since last night’s news about Netflix losing hundreds of movies from its streaming service beginning today. Reports originally said the vacating titles were from Warner Bros, but it turns out the majority were “older features that were aggregated by Epix,” a Netflix spokesman said this afternoon. Epix’s two-year exclusive deal with the streaming service expired in September; content from Epix — owned by Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM — also streams on Amazon Prime Instant Video. A source tells Deadline that that the number of expiring titles is closer to 1,000, rather than the 2,000 figure floating around online. “This ebb and flow happens all the time”, Netflix said. The company also said it is adding 500 more titles starting today, including Mission: Impossible 2. Read More »

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Netflix’s Reed Hastings Made $5.5M In 2012, -40.3%

By | Friday April 26, 2013 @ 1:14pm PDT

The CEO wasn’t even the company’s highest paid exec last year: That honor went to Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos who made $6.5M, according to the Netflix proxy just filed at the SEC. The big change for Reed Hastings was … Read More »

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Netflix CEO Says ‘Arrested Development’ Will Be A Single Season “One-Off”

By | Monday February 25, 2013 @ 8:32pm PST

While celebrating the “great success” of Netflix‘s House Of Cards, CEO Reed Hastings announced today that the company’s Arrested Development series will likely only run one season. “We … Read More »

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‘House Of Cards’ Was “A Great Success” Netflix Chief Says

By | Monday February 25, 2013 @ 11:19am PST

CEO Reed Hastings says the original series “met all of (our) expectations” in becoming “a great success”, although he offered no concrete data to analysts today at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. House Of Cards, the political drama from Media Rights Capital, should be seen as “confirmation of the thesis that we can build something really important.” Its full value in leading people to subscribe to Netflix will become evident when the next season is available. “In the beginning you’re developing a foundation,” Hastings says. Still, he urged investors not to focus too much on House Of Cards‘ performance. “It’s our most viewed content today, but it’s not the center of the company. It may be the center of the PR for a while. That’s OK.” While he doesn’t want people to “think of us as the original content company,” Hastings made it clear that originals will be key to its growth. He talked up Hemlock Grove, a horror show that Netflix will offer in April. “It’s completely different” than House Of Cards, he says. “For many people in this audience, you’ll be grossed out. We’re going to push the boundaries.” Read More »

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Netflix CEO Says Company Is On “Probation” Despite Subscription Growth

By | Wednesday January 23, 2013 @ 4:04pm PST

“There’s still an echo and a bruise” from summer 2011 when Netflix infuriated customers by splitting the streaming and DVD rental operations — dramatically raising the price for those who wanted to continue to receive both services — CEO Reed Hastings told analysts this evening. The strong subscription numbers from the last three months of 2012 show that “we’re out of jail” in consumers’ eyes. He adds, though that “we still have a year and a half of probation.” That may be one reason he didn’t want to touch a question about whether Netflix might raise its price — something that would please investors. “We’re happy at $7.99 [a month] and not speculating about the future,” Hastings says. He’s upbeat about general trends, though. For example consumers’ growing interest in tablets and Internet-connected TVs is “very helpful to us.” Read More »

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Netflix Shares Soar As Q4 Earnings Trounce Expectations

By | Wednesday January 23, 2013 @ 1:07pm PST

Shares are up more than 30% in after-market trading following the company’s report of a Q4 profit — in contrast to the Street’s expectation for a loss. Netflix reported net income of $7.9M, down 77.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $945.2M, +8%. Analysts expected revenues to come in lower at $934.1M. But the profit number was the big surprise: It amounts to 13 cents a share — a contrast to forecasts for a 13 cent loss. Investors also will be surprised by the subscription numbers. Netflix ended 2012 with 27.15M domestic streaming customers, an increase of 2.05M vs the previous quarter. That’s well ahead of company guidance, and analyst predictions for a 1.7M increase. International also was strong with 6.12M subscribers, +1.81M — beating the company’s most optimistic forecast for +1.44M. The good news extended to domestic DVD rentals. Netflix says 8.22M people subscribe, a loss of 380,000; the company had said it might lose at least 458,000. “The fact that our growth remains this strong despite intensifying competition, and our already substantial U.S. market penetration, underlines the large opportunity ahead,” CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells say in their quarterly note to shareholders.

Related: Netflix CEO Says Company Is On “Probation” Despite Subscription Growth Read More »

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SEC Warns It May Go After Netflix For Violating Disclosure Rules

By | Thursday December 6, 2012 @ 2:44pm PST

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sometimes deals with investors in quirky ways — and one instance involving a Facebook posting may prove to be too quirky for regulators who oversee the securities markets. The streaming company just disclosed that SEC staff sent a “Wells Notice,” a warning that they will recommend to the commission that it institute a cease and desist proceeding or bring a civil action against Hastings for violating fair disclosure rules. Hastings says (yes, in a Facebook post) that the matter involves a message in July that Netflix subscribers streamed 1B hours of content in June. When Hastings made the comment on Facebook, he didn’t also communicate with the Street in a more formal, and conventional, way — with a public filing at the SEC. The filings are supposed to guarantee that companies disclose material information to all investors equally, not selectively to a few. Hastings says he believes that his posting to more than 200,000 Facebook fans “is very public, especially because many of my subscribers are reporters and bloggers.” In addition he says that “we think the fact of 1 billion hours of viewing in June was not ‘material’ to investors, and we had blogged a few weeks before that we were serving nearly 1 billion hours per month.” Although Netflix shares rose the day of his disclosure, Hastings says that the movement began earlier in the day and was “likely driven by the positive Citigroup research report the evening before.” He adds that he’s “optimistic this can be cleared up quickly through the SEC’s review process.” Read More »

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Netflix’s Reed Hastings Says Amazon Is Losing $500M to $1B A Year On Streaming

By | Friday November 16, 2012 @ 4:13pm PST

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says “Amazon is the best competitor we’ve ever faced” — but he estimates his retail rival is losing between $500 million and $1 billion a year on its streaming content, according to a reportRead More »

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