Netflix chief: HBO Go is rival ‘we fear most’
NEW YORK—Lots of people watch HBO. Not everyone watches it the way Reed Hastings does.
Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, sees growing competition between his company and HBO, a darling of the cable world and, with its HBO Go service and attendant mobile app, a rising star in online video.
“The competitor we fear the most is HBO Go,” Hastings said today at the UBS Media conference here. “They aren’t competing directly with us now, but they can. HBO is becoming much more Netflix-like, and we’re becoming much more HBO-like.”
Actually, Netflix is hoping to become more HBO-like. They certainly have made inroads into content production recently with the resurrection of Arrested Development, but they have a long way to go before one could call them a competitor to HBO. HBO, on the other hand, is doing a pretty damn fine job of streaming it’s content via the HBO Go app. Better content availability by far than the HBO On Demand titles available from my cable company. I haven’t browsed everything, but it looks like you can pretty much access every show that HBO has ever produced. Netflix can’t compete with this unless they become or gain a production partnership with a major studio. If the other studios figure out a way to do what HBO is doing, Netflix will face a very tough struggle for survival.
These last few lines are very telling about the general perception of Netflix:
But Netflix is back on track, Hastings said. In what should come as music to the ears of Netflix subscribers, he added: “By Q2 [of next year] we’ll have twice as much content as we did in the past Q1, Q2.”
Just how good that content will be remains to be seen. Hastings did say that Netflix will continue to cut deals that give it the first distribution rights to content like it did with the series “House of Cards.”
The future of Netflix depends on content - not just volume, but quality. If twice as much only equals more of the same then they will not last.