On Q2 webcast, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos explains why “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2” was delayed
Netflix’s bosses were in good spirits during a Wednesday afternoon media analyst interview, as their stock soared after U.S. market hours thanks to strong Q2 subscriber growth.
Company CEO Reed Hastings played coy about the rising sales price, which at the time was up probably 10 percent after a down day: “It’s a mystery to me,” he said.
But Hastings was authoritative on another price increase issue, assuring subscribers that there will be no more cost-to-consumer hikes anytime soon for standard service. Netflix raised prices for new members just over a year ago.
“We want to take it very slow,” Hastings, wearing a “BoJack Horseman” sweater, said regarding potential price increases. “Things are going really well. We don’t want to be disruptive.”
Hastings also talked about the bundling and unbundling happening all around him. The Netflix boss is open to being made part of a bundle in certain places, being part of your “cable” bill, so to speak — so long as Netflix remains its own line item.
“We would always want to be separately priced,” Hastings explained. “We think the service is a great value.”
Soon, his service may be tested and valued by the Chinese market, a launch that has been quite a while in the making. During the conversation, CFO David Wells told reporters and market analysts that he hopes to launch a service in China next year.
Then it was time for Ted Sarandos to talk Content, his department.
The Chief Content Officer touted the broad, mainstream appeal of his shows as part of the reason for the positive financial news of the week. Beyond “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black” and some newer hits, Sarandos has high hopes for “The Ranch” starring Ashton Kutcher, “Fuller House” and “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” he said, adding that he plans to continue ramping up content spending on his coveted Originals.
But he’s also inheriting existing content for which he’s excited. Next year’s Disney library addition ought to lead to an increase in viewing hours, though probably not subscriber growth, Sarandos said.
Sarandos also offered color on why Netflix pushed back the premiere date for the upcoming “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2.” The reasons were twofold: 1.) To have a better theatrical release window in China; and 2.) To gain a few more production days on the project.
When prompted, Sarandos admitted that his company doesn’t plan on doing many releases simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix, but rather that it’s more a symbolic attempt to occasionally demonstrate the big-screen, nationwide-release quality of its movies.
For now, that initiative will take a backseat to what the executives identified is their company’s top priority: Continuing to improve the service’s personalization aspect. So far, so good, say 65 million subscribers and the stock market.