Netflix's arrogant mistake: Taking on HBO
Reed Hastings went after the premium cable network as competition, but so far the rivalry has been weak.
In due time, Netflix (NFLX) sentiment should regress toward a less euphoric mean. But, of course, the media isn't prepared to face reality just yet.
After what can be nothing other than an Emmys disappointment for Netflix, most of the media's lead stories still look like something this:
"Netflix Wins Emmy for 'House of Cards,'" or "'Breaking Bad' Emmy is a win for Netflix, too."
Reed Hastings could take up methamphetamine production as a hobby, and this uncritical media would find a way to spin it righteous and positive.
Last time I checked, Time Warner (TWX) is the publicly traded firm that owns HBO. And it crushed Netflix on Emmy victories. But, in the financial media, stories that focus on TWX's success remain outliers. That's little more than abject journalistic failure.
Whether Netflix won the important Emmys -- the best actor award went to HBO and best drama went to AMC Networks (AMCX) -- or not, I was prepared to say the same thing:
Emmy nominations, Emmy wins, Emmy losses, Emmy snubs -- none of these things matter at all. Not even a little.
It's fantastic that Netflix was nominated. It's equally as fantastic that it won in a major category and picked up a couple Creative Arts Emmys. It would have been a bit more fantastic had it won best actor or best drama.
If it was shut out -- or had a less-than-thrilling showing like it did -- that wouldn't have mattered either. While it would not have been "fantastic," it would have amounted to little more than a bruised ego or something of the sort.
Same goes for HBO, AMC and the others. Because, again, winning Emmys doesn't matter.
The problem with the whole Netflix Emmys storyline is the media's insistence to spin it not only as meaningful, but as positive minus any level-headed analysis or critical thought. Hopefully, Sunday night provides Netflix with perspective. Hopefully it kicks Hastings' bravado down several notches. Maybe he will realize the inanity of his ways. He made nothing short of a bonehead move when he set up comparisons to HBO.
By situating HBO as the benchmark -- in quite arrogant fashion -- he created an impossible task. Nothing short of dazzlement can be quite good enough for Netflix. Yes, with the Emmys, but, more importantly with what actually matters -- viewership.
Hastings could have created a scene where he kept expectations necessarily low, while orchestrating a culture of cooperation between Netflix and HBO. It's not like HBO would trumpet Netflix as the future of television in public forums, but there's no question in my mind the network could have served as a productive model, a willing guide to Netflix as the definition of television continues to change.
Instead, Reed Hastings created an adversary out of HBO. That's just an all-around stupid strategic move. If you thought Netflix performed poorly on the same stage as HBO, AMC and others at the Emmys, wait until material disappointments start to surface. It will make 2011's Netflix stock crash look comparatively tame.
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Two years ago Netflix did nothing but ship dvd's in the mail and stream content created by others. Today they have Emmy winning original programming. I'd say that's a major success even if you're too stupid to realize or admit it.
Thats why even though the pissed off many of their users a while back they came back swinging for round II. No matter how you package it, nothing beats a good value, and Netflix is a great one.
Loyal to the end.
Hmmm... Not much to say about someone who has no idea what they are talking about. The fact they were nominated. Big win. Not being a main stream TV production. Big Win. And if this Rocco guy had any sense he would have bought Netflix at 50. Like me. Big win! Sounds like a loser story. Oh wait Netflix over $300 hundred..... Laughing all the way to the Bank. Emmy's are not the focus Satisfying the stock holders is and the story of Netflix is great. With or without an emmy its all good. Maybe educate yourself on the fact that you are even talking about Netflix is the win. LOSER. Hold on have to laugh..........all the way to the bank. Netflix is an online streaming media company not a TV company the fact that you are thinking they are competing with TV is the joke. They are competing but their market is different. But wait your the "writer" of this informed story sad you get paid for this.
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The company has made at least 4 acquisitions in the space, and few people have paid any attention.
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