- (PHOTO: REUTERS / Robert Galbraith)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes that his company will soon be leading the way again in terms of streaming services, granted that they don’t “shoot [themselves] in the foot anymore.”
At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York on Tuesday, the executive spoke about Netflix’s recent mistakes and regrets, admitting that his company “got overconfident” this year when they tried to phase out their DVD-by-mail rental service.
Earlier in the year, the company had announced a new pricing plan for users, separating their unlimited instant streaming from their DVD-by-mail rentals. If subscribers wanted both services, which they originally paid $9.99 for, they would have to sign up for two different $7.99 plans, forcing those who wanted both to pay $15.98 a month.
Outraged, 800,000 subscribers cancelled their plans with Netflix and eventually caused the company’s once blooming stock prices to plummet to unseen lows.
“It turned out to be a little too fast,” Hastings acknowledged at the meeting, according to the Los Angeles Times. He compared the backlash Netflix received for their change in plans to the image beating Bank of America took after they announced they would begin charging monthly fees for debit card users, a move they too recalled.
“We became sort of a Bank of America symbol, which is super unfortunate,” he added, according to The Huffington Post.
“We berate ourselves tremendously for that lack of insight because it didn’t need to be that way. But you know, in three or five years, we aren’t going to remember it. It’s going to be: ‘Did we succeed at streaming?’ That’s all people are going to care about in three or five years. So we are not losing too much sleep over it. We are charging ahead.”
Hastings was confident in the future of online streaming services, which he believed would eliminate the demand for DVD rentals. Concentrating on online streaming video, Netflix has invested heavily in that area, also pushing for original content through their service.
Currently, Netflix is making a drama called “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey and is also producing new episodes of Fox’s much-beloved sitcom “Arrested Development.”
“Streaming is the future,” the Times quoted the 51-year-old entrepreneur as saying.
“If you fundamentally believe Internet video will change the world in 20 years, we are the leading play on that basis,” Hastings also shared.
As for competition in streaming services, the biggest rival the CEO felt Netflix has is HBO, which recently expanded their cable TV with their “HBO Go” service. This allows users to get unlimited access to all their favorite HBO shows, hit movies, sports, comedy, and more, on their mobile devices.
Though the app is free, their service is limited to those who have an HBO cable subscription.
“[HBO] will be a little bit of an arms race with us,” Hastings stated, according to the Post. “Hopefully we will end up both creating amazing consumer experiences and end up pushing the bar in a positive way for each other.”