Back when we excitedly awaited a DVD-by-mail delivery from Netflix in the early 2000s, never did we imagine that one day this same company would be discussing streaming news on the internet.
But how the times have changed, as today on the Netflix earnings call, CEO Reed Hastings and content boss Ted Sarandos said they’re certainly working on a news-type offering. Without pretending it doesn’t exist, Hastings jumped right in and asked Sarandos “How likely is it we compete directly with VICE in the next two years?”
And his answer, simply put was, “Probably high.”
Netflix certainly would love a way to keep our attention more focused on their offerings, which while is likely at an all-time high, can’t get complacent with other major SVODs such as Amazon and Hulu in hot pursuit. Our attention comes at a premium, and Netflix wants to remain on the daily forefront of it.
As one of our staffers just put it, “They need to get more eyeballs on their content every day, not just in small batches when a new original series comes out.”
More modern news distribution certainly would be a great way to do this, but if they’re to follow in VICE’s footsteps, it might not be as easy as simply creating a new offering. VICE has built up a brand that HBO then partnered with, giving both brands a credibility boost with target audiences.
Vice founder Sean Smith joked about the announcement on Twitter:
Daily news is certainly ripe for plenty of disruption, with VICE’s recent announcement that it would move to this format on HBO soon. Certainly Netflix can coexist, but it will make for an interesting period of building up an audience and news-credibility, Daily Shows aren’t grown on trees.
“We are interested in being able to improve the viewing experience of whatever kind of content people are watching” Hastings said. One exception he did clarify though, was that Netflix has no intention of moving into live sports. It would be a stretch for the service to start offering any sort of live offering, as all of its current content library is on-demand, not exactly that desirable for sports viewership.
We’ll be paying close attention to this one, and will update as we hear more.