We’ve heard a lot about the battle between HBO and video on demand service Netflix in recent months, prompted by HBO’s move to offer its own Netflix-like Web service.
But Netflix’s bumper Q1 earnings yesterday gave CEO Reed Hastings a good chance to remind people what he’s really gunning for: It’s not HBO, it’s TV.
Hastings has been quite clear about this for some time. While his company has been happy to use HBO as a competitive benchmark — “The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us,” content chief Ted Sarandos famously announced — Hastings has said, over and over again, that he doesn’t need HBO to fail in order for him to grow. There’s plenty of overlap between the two services’ customer bases.
Instead, he said yesterday, Netflix thinks the real opportunity isn’t to overtake HBO, but to help destroy the TV Industrial Complex and its one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it bundle. Its replacement, he predicts, will be “Internet TV” — a variety of apps/networks/channels you can customize at will.
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