Netflix's Hastings Agrees With Critics
Netflix chief Reed Hastings has echoed some of the criticism directed against him by financial experts and investors. Appearing at a media conference in New York on Tuesday, Hastings agreed that he had "got overconfident" and moved too fast in his effort to convert his DVD-renting customers into online streaming ones. "Our big obsession for the year was let's not live and die with the DVD," he said. He also agreed that he had sometimes paid too much for content deals, but he made no reference to critics' claims that those deals were so expensive that they will continue to cause the company to operate in the red and eventually force it into bankruptcy. He indicated that he is now focusing his attention on becoming the HBO of online video, producing its own original shows rather than buying them from others. Referring to the fact that HBO is now providing some of its programming online to its cable subscribers, Hastings said, "HBO is becoming more Netflix-like and we're becoming more HBO-like." Meanwhile, Verizon said on Tuesday that it plans to launch its own streaming service to compete with Netflix. In today's trading, Netflix was up 5.50 percent to $71.89 at midday.