CES: Netflix's Hastings


Netflix has been a lightning rod for critics complaining that it is disrupting the economics of TV distribution.

This week, Turner Broadcasting System chairman and CEO Phil Kent issued a warning to studios and content producers that if they're making shows available through Netflix, Turner wouldn't be inclined to pay top dollar and may even take a pass on them.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

And in an interview Thursday with CNBC, Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes dismissed Netflix as "a 200-pound chimp -- it's not an 800-pound gorilla." (Note to Mr. Bewkes: Even chimps can rip your face off.)

Netflix has started to stockpile a growing amount of TV shows and movies, available to stream over the Internet to more than 200 devices. The company recently inked an expanded deal with Disney-ABC Television Group after reaching an agreement with Epix, the joint movie venture of Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate, reportedly worth nearly $1 billion over five years.

Meanwhile, Netflix's deal with Starz Entertainment -- reportedly in the range of $20 million to $30 million over three years -- is up for renewal in 2011. At an investor conference last month Hastings said he's hopeful of reaching an agreement with Starz but pointedly added, "there's no one piece of content that is essential for us."

This week Netflix announced deals with 11 consumer-electronics manufacturers to add a "Netflix" button to their remote controls for TVs, Blu-ray players and other devices.