Netflix Execs On Where They See Growth (and What to Watch)


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Netflix certainly knows how to put on a show—including the company’s quarterly earnings reports, which instead of the usual audio presentation to analysts are presented as a talkshow-like Q&A that dispenses with rehashing what’s in each earnings report. (In the case of today’s first quarter earnings news, that would include $3.7 billion in revenue, $290 million net income and 7.4 million new subscribers worldwide.)

Instead, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, CFO David Wells, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, Investor Relations VP Spencer Wang and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters answer questions poised by a guest interviewer—in today’s case, that honor went to Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne. And Netflix being all about video, their conversation was released as a video:

Highlights from their comments about where they see growth and opportunities—and what programming most excites them:

“What we think almost every day about is, how do we do an even better job innovating so that we can bring our members the perfect piece of content to watch whenever they access Netflix? And so you’re going to see us do a lot more to innovate around that. How do we launch new shows? How do we make them accessible to our members around the world, whatever language they’re speaking, whatever territory they’re in? We’re excited about all of those components.”

“All apps on your phone will have some form of video, or most apps will… we want to be one of the apps that nearly everybody has on their home screen, whether that’s on the phone or on the television. If you look at the mobile phone ecosystem, it’s very rich, and we see television getting close to that.”

“The consumer has a lot of entertainment options. Whether our share of that grows or shrinks is really up to, do we produce great content, market it well, serve it up beautifully? And if we do that really well, if we earn more of consumers’ time, then we continue to grow. And if we get lazy or slow, we’ll be run over, just like anybody else.”

“We’re a fraction of the hours of viewing of YouTube. We’re a fraction of the hours of viewing of linear TV. We’ve got some great momentum, and we’re very excited about that, but we have a long way to go in terms of earning all of the viewing that we want to.”

“There’s significant leverage that we get by trying to provide one solution against what we see as a pretty consistent set of consumer needs around the world. Now we’re obviously trying to be mindful to … how consumers in different markets react to our product. … The world is a place to learn, to understand from consumers, listen to them, but then react in a way that’s scalable.”

“We can bring our technology know-how to bring a great story from anywhere in the world to the rest of the world. And using our ability to subtitle and dub, and getting better and better at doing that quickly and accurately and artfully, can make a very local show at least pan-regional and, at best, global. … We’re really excited about the transportability of some of this content because it’s really opening up new stories across the world—and in a way that doesn’t sacrifice margin.”

Shows that the Netflix executives recommended throughout the course of the interview:

—”The new season of 13 Reasons Why coming out this quarter.”
—”Returning seasons of our hits like Luke Cage and GLOW, Dear White People, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. We have a great comedy feature film coming up with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock called The Week Of. And we’ve already started this quarter with new seasons of Santa Clarita Diet, Series of Unfortunate Events and a lot of real fan favorites.”
—”We’ve got 3% (from Brazil) for a new season and also a brand-new original series from Denmark called The Rain that we think is going to play really well all over the world.”
—”We’re thrilled with The Defenders universe and Jessica Jones and we have Luke Cage coming up this quarter for a new season.”
—”We’ve been particularly pleased to see a show like Casa De Papel, or Money Heist in the U.S., was successful for us all around the world… We’ll be producing sequels and spinoffs of Casa De Papel as original content for years to come.”