Netflix is leading the charge when it comes to streaming movies and TV shows over the Internet. It’s no longer focussed on DVDs, even though it is about to ship its 3 billionth disc. As bandwidth to the home increases, streaming will just continue to become more popular. At the Wired business conference earlier this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted that gigabit-per-second speeds to the home will become common over the next decade.
I caught up with Hastings just before he went onstage and shot the video interview above (in which he does a mean impression of a 56K dial-up modem to illustrate how far we’ve come). “Streaming is the core of our business and it is growing rapidly.” he told me. “Streaming is much bigger than DVD for us in terms of hours of viewing, growth, and focus. We are seeing massive consumer adoption of streaming.” Not only that, but DVD growth might have peaked. Off camera, Hastings told me that DVD shipments for Netflix “this quarter may go the down first time ever.”
In this video, he also downplays the importance of Netflix licensing original programming (“it is no big strategy shift”) and explains why all you-can-eat subscriptions work so well for Netflix regardless of how people choose to watch their movies (DVDs, laptops, tablets, phones). He was a little too polite on-camera. But when I asked him what he thought about the New York Times’ multi-tiered paywall strategy in contrast to an all-you-can-eat subscription pricing, he responded: “If you are on the iPad and it has Safari and you go to the NyTimes.com and it works fine. Then you are asked to pay for the iPad app—that does not sound consumer friendly.” Exactly.