CEO Reed Hastings shares news of the record-breaking viewing figures on Facebook
Former Wall Street supernova Netflix fell humiliatingly back to earth over the past year, but the subscription service was feeling downright boastful on Tuesday as it announced it had shattered records for its streaming service.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on Facebook that the company had exceeded 1 billion hours of streaming video in June. It had never hit that number in a single month before, Hastings said.
The Netflix head credited Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos for the accomplishment and predicted more benchmarks to come thanks to two high profile original series that are in the works for the subscription service.
"Congrats to Ted Sarandos, and his amazing content licensing team. Netflix monthly viewing exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time ever in June," Hastings wrote. "When House of Cards and Arrested Development debut, we'll blow these records away. Keep going, Ted, we need even more!"
That should put some spring back into Netflix's step. The company has not fully recovered from a year ago, when it unveiled a controversial pay hike to its most popular subscription plan and stumbled with an aborted attempt to spin off its DVD by mail service into a separate company called Qwikster.
It has long banked its future on its streaming service, not its more costly and cumbersome disc business, so June's video numbers are in many ways a validation of that strategy.
In an interview with The Daily Beast in May, Sarandos predicted that emphasizing original programming like "House of Cards" with Kevin Spacey and new seasons of "Arrested Development" will reinvigorate the company and grow its streaming arm. It would also, he argued at the time, make Netflix less dependent on costly licensing deals with the major studios and cable companies.
“I was becoming increasingly concerned that the people who were selling to us wouldn’t want to sell to us for long,” Sarandos told The Daily Beast.
"People keep saying, ‘Oh, you’re going to become like HBO?’” he added. “I say, ‘No, no, no. HBO is going to become like Netflix.’ We just have to get really great at original before they get really great at all the stuff that we do.”
Netflix shares closed up 6.18 percent to $72.04 Tuesday. That's a long way from the $300 at which the company's shares hovered before the Qwikster carnage, but it's a start.