Netflix CEO Speaks Out About AT&T Merger With Time Warner

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has weighed in on the potential merger between AT&T and HBO's parent company Time Warner. Most surprisingly, Hastings does not seem to be bothered by the idea of the merger.

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(Photo: Netflix / AT&T)

At the Wall Street Journal Live conference on Monday night, Hastings spoke out saying that he is isn't opposed to the merger "as long as HBO's bits and Netflix's bits are treated the same [by regulators]."

In 2014, Hastings took issue with a proposed merger deal between Comcast and Time Warner. The Netflix CEO was of the belief that Comcast would have the ability to block broadband Internet access to Netflix customers, according to TechCrunch.

"I think AT&T's going to be aggressive about building a national competitor to all of the cable companies like DirectTV has been to the satellite companies — and if they pull that off that would be in the consumer's interest," Hastings said.

Hastings was later asked about the possibility of Netflix going after Time Warner themselves. After a long pause, Hastings said, "Next question. That was not a no."

The world's most popular video streaming service has been going in a different direction lately by focusing more on creating their own original content as opposed to purchasing the streaming rights for other content. With original shows like Stranger Things making such an enormous splash, the platform for the future of the company has been set.

"We're going to evolve past just the Hollywood enclave and really try to unleash the world's great, high-end creators," Hastings said.

The Netflix CEO also addressed the real challenge in predicting the future of entertainment. "Is it VR, is it gaming, is it pharmacological?" he said.

He then went on a tangent and made a humorous projection about pharmacological entertainment.

"In twenty or fifty years taking a personalized blue pill, you just hallucinate in an entertaining way and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable; and if the source of human entertainment in thirty or forty years is pharmacological we'll be in real trouble," Hastings said.

On the whole, Hastings believes that Netflix is in the business of "turning money into joy" and "eliminating boredom and loneliness."

The motivation for AT&T to merge with Time Warner would be to own original content much like Netflix. In light of the fact that Netflix just posted massively impressive Q3 earnings, it's likely that more streaming companies will be looking to own original movies and television shows.

Do you think a merger between AT&T and Time Warner would be a good thing for Netflix?

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[H/T TechCrunch]