Netflix has enjoyed a remarkable period of sustained growth, both in its home and overseas markets, but its successes have helped push up the price of content as established and seen some ‘legacy’ broadcasters and studios fight back including, as with Disney, by ending content deals and drawing up plans to launch their own rival streaming services.
The emergence of increased competition, most recently from Apple, is also helping to push up the cost of bought-in content, which is why subscribers have seen prices rise in recent years, and is partly the reason why Netflix is hiring top talent such as Shonda Rhimes to develop projects in-house rather than acquiring shows from outside studios.
But while this change of strategy can lower some production overheads, Netflix will still see costs rise as it competes with a growing number of rivals to secure big name talent for its subscribers.
Interestingly while the firm has seen a number of major players move onto its turf, it’s shown no interest in following suit – it doesn’t sell digital copies of movies and TV shows and it appears completely disinterested in entering the world of live streaming .
Many major brands and platforms such as Twitch and YouTube have embraced the technology to the obvioius delight of PC and console games, online casinos use it to provide live casino games, allowing table-game enthusiasts to interact with a trained croupier as though they were in a brick-and-mortar casino, and Amazon’s Prime Video has embraced it as part of its entry into live sports coverage.
Yet despite a flood of rumours that it and Amazon were going to take on Sky and BT in the most recent premier league rights auction (Amazon eventually picked up a bundle of lowcost, hard to sell matches) of matches.
So why not Netflix?
The answer to that can be found in a July 2018 with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in which he discussed many avenues that Netflix may take in the future, but arguably his most interesting comments were those concerning live TV.
“To follow a competitor, never, never, never,” the CEO remarked. “We don’t do live news, we don’t do live sports. But what we do do, we try to do really well.”
He also made it clear that Netflix was never likely to include pre-roll adverts or ad breaks, considered to be seriously irritating by many viewers, in its content, which would seem to rule out it following the example of Sky’s Now TV and streaming linear channels.
As Hastings mentioned in his interview, Netflix is extremely good at what it does. Content is the very core of the company, and to dilute that with live TV that’s not up to standards or is clunky would do nothing to aid the brand’s reputation.