Internet doesn’t add much value to sports experience : Hastings


Netflix isn’t getting into live sports, and CEO Reed Hastings has a fairly simple way of explaining why an entertainment company wouldn’t look to do so.

“Sports is really good in the moment. So you want to watch the game, but the afterlife of a given show is quite small,” Hastings said at Recode’s Code Conference, adding that it’s the binge-viewing experience that is transformative.

“It’s hard to transform sports with the internet. I mean, you can carry it over the internet, but what does that do for you? So think of it as the internet doesn’t yet add much value to the sports experience.”

Hastings’ comments come after an April shareholders letter in which the company referenced how Amazon earlier that month made a deal with the NFL to live stream Thursday Night Football Games, adding, “That is not a strategy that we think is smart for us since we believe we can earn more viewing and satisfaction from spending that money on movies and TV shows.”

For Hastings, he wants to be focused on entertainment — a different strategy than Amazon, reports sporttechie.com.

“We’re not trying to meet all needs,” Hastings is quoted as saying by Sporttechie.com. “So Amazon’s business strategy is super broad — meet all needs. I mean, the stuff that’ll be in Prime in five or 10 years will be amazing, right? And so, we can’t try to be them. We’re never going to be as good as them at what they’re trying to be. What we can be is the emotional connection brand — like HBO or Netflix. So think of it as they’re trying to be Walmart, we’re trying to be Starbucks. So super-focused on one thing that people are very passionate about.”

In March, Netflix VP of Product Innovation Todd Yellin told Trusted Reviews that there were no current plans as well for sports.

“We’re not thinking about live sports. We want to be the best video storytelling place in the world. That’s what we want,” he said.

For premium sports, Yellin indicated he felt a company needed an entire infrastructure to support sports and be able to bring in subscribers to sell similar offerings. And as for niche sports — ones that have been streamed on Twitter and Facebook Live?

“There’s very little causality between what a user watches in terms of sport, and what they watch in terms of drama or adventure or films,” Yellin told Trusted Reviews, referring to Netflix’s focus. “So utilising niche sport to sell to the rest of your audience doesn’t work very well.”


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