News and Analysis
Netflix has reiterated that it does not plan to add live sports to its streaming lineup.
Company CEO Reed Hastings last week told Recode’s Code Conference that it’s important for Netflix’s programming to have value beyond the first airing. Live sports, Hastings notes, is great for attracting viewers during the initial live broadcast, but few people want to watch it after the event is over.
“It’s hard to transform sports with the Internet,” Hastings said. “I mean, you can carry it over the Internet. But what does that do for you? So think of it as the Internet doesn’t add much value to the sports experience.”
Hastings’ view runs counter to what his streaming rivals believe. Amazon this fall will air live NFL games on Thursday nights, and Hulu, Twitter and Facebook, among others, are also investing in live sports streaming.
But it says here that Hastings is correct.
Live sports rights are incredibly expensive to obtain (the leagues charge a small fortune), and it should be noted that live streaming of any kind can be a significant technical challenge, leading to customer dissatisfaction if the picture falters. (And it almost always does.)
Basically, live sports on the Internet is more trouble than it’s worth.
Netflix has built a huge subscriber base, and huge revenue base, with programs that can be watched anytime, and for the most part, reliably.
As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
— Phillip Swann