Netflix CEO: People Don't Want Movies on Cell Phones
One of the commonly invoked advantages of smartphones is the ability to watch video on the go, to catch up on missed shows during the train ride to work or spend some time with a favorite movie on a long car ride. But according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, that's not what people are doing.
Netflix has been busy expanding into every device imaginable, everything from the Xbox to the iPhone, and an Android app is on the way , too. But Hastings said in a recent panel discussion at the Web 2.0 Summit that mobile devices such as the iPhone haven't really expanded the company's business of streaming video .
Hastings says that he thinks people just prefer to watch movies and TV (the entirety of Netflix's offering) on larger screens. Netflix integration into Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Mac computers significantly expanded the subscriber base, he said, but the company has not seen similar results from phones and portables.
Informal polls have shown that indeed people have been watching streaming video on their phones, though perhaps not as frequently as on a big screen. It's possible that most people who use a Netflix app already have a subscription that they've been using on a computer or TV, whereas people who don't have a subscription are reluctant to sign up just to watch on a phone.