Netflix is the content business' friend. That was the message from the company's chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who positioned the company as a solution for many of the industry's most confounding problems, during a Tuesday morning interview at NATPE in Miami.
The exec characterized Netflix's relationship with studios as "very strong," in an interview with VideoNuze editor Will Richmond. Sarandos acknowledged there is "a lot of anxiety" about the dramatic shifts in customer demand for more on-demand viewing and the question of how to monetize that viewership. He touted Netflix as a "model around time-shifted content people are willing to pay for."
Sarandos positioned Netflix as a way to "plug the holes" presented by weak sales for off-net syndication of serialized content, and a complement to pay television as it drives viewer interest and awareness of originals and helping to pay for the cost of content by paying license fees for it. "We are writing very large checks" and "keeping viewers engaged," he said.
He contended that Netflix is a complement to all forms of TV-including HBO, whose execs have traded words in the press with the company. Calling HBO the "gold standard" for premium subscription TV, Sarandos said "Their strategy is about exclusivity and I respect that. Them being a great seller and us being a big buyer, we'll eventually find a way to do business that is great for both of us."
"HBO has no intention of doing a streaming deal with Netflix, as we believe our value is derived from high-quality, exclusive content," said an HBO spokesman. Netflix gets HBO DVDs but does not have any streaming rights to HBO programs.
Sarandos said he expects to aggressively bid against HBO for the Warner Bros. movie window that opens up in 2014, calling it a great thing for Warner Bros., since it ups the price for the package, and a not great thing for HBO for the same reason.