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Monday, February 26, 2024

Netflix’s CEO is prepared for linear TV to die

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Netflix needs linear TV to die. CEO Reed Hastings has been banging the TV homicide drum for greater than 8 years now, and within the investor call today, he reiterated his perception, confidently saying that Netflix was in an excellent place as a result of linear TV could be {dead} in “5 to 10 years.”

Hastings is financially incentivized to say this. One of many largest opponents for the most important streaming service on the planet is the set of completely free streaming channels that beam into any TV with an antenna, and their costlier pals on cable TV.

Netflix wants linear TV to die as a result of it wants the streaming holdouts nonetheless utilizing linear TV. It shed a whopping 1.3 million subscribers across the US and Canada in the last three months, according to its 2022 Q2 earnings report. With greater than 220 million paying prospects worldwide, it’s primarily discovered as many subscribers as it’ll. It’s making efforts to achieve subscribers: it is obtained its incoming ad-supported tier (which received’t embrace all of the content material you get now), and it’s going to attempt to finish the follow of account sharing—forcing sharers to subscribe or go with out streaming to any display screen greater than a laptop computer. However once you’ve mainly obtained as many subscribers as you possibly can presently, you want your opponents (linear TV, YouTube, TikTok, the good open air, and so on.) to do worse. So sure, in fact, Hastings needs linear TV to kick the bucket.

However is it actually going to occur? TV viewership numbers are down, that’s completely sure. After the elevated quantity of unique content material on cable TV got here within the 2010s, the market fragmented, and the facility of the published TV stations waned. Gray’s Anatomy continues to be one of the most watched shows in the USA regardless of going from a mean of 20 million viewers per episode to… 4 million.

However broadcast TV remains to be… … free. You don’t must pay for web after which pay a subscription charge (or 12) on prime of it. You’ll be able to simply flip in your TV, and offered you’ve obtained a adequate antenna, get loads of good content material — the content material that Netflix is determined and struggling to recreate by itself service. The Workplace, Mates, Gray’s Anatomy, and CW’s complete lineup of sweet sixteen dramas had been constantly a few of Netflix’s most consumed content material earlier than licensing agreements noticed them bounce off to different providers.

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Broadcast TV can be about to get a significant improve within the type of ATSC 3.0. Whereas its rollout has been glacial, the brand new normal for broadcast tv guarantees every kind of high quality enhancements that streaming costs a premium for—if it might probably present in any respect. ATSC 3.0 helps 4K, and 120 frames per second, huge coloration gamut, and HDR. Netflix currently charges $19.99 a month for that, and HBO Max has been so slow to roll out 4K I sometimes question if it even knows what 4K is.

And broadcast TV is just one (free) aspect of linear TV. There are additionally all of the cable channels that we nonetheless subscribe to though streaming was supposed to avoid wasting us from outrageous charges and supporting content material now we have no real interest in consuming. Whereas viewership is down, cable stays the least obnoxious strategy to watch sports activities, and it is the quickest and most high-quality service for watching TV that’s in any other case restricted to a single app which will or might not be any good, and undoubtedly prices you greater than you wish to pay.

Plus, there’s the truth that nearly not one of the huge streamers have managed to match certainly one of linear TV’s most soothing options: the entire linear airing of content material factor. A endless stream you possibly can tune out and in of at leisure, and that may work as mild background noise in your day-to-day life. I long for something as simple as the ability to make playlists on Netflix and as a substitute get an app that forgets I began Persuasion the night time earlier than.

Linear TV is struggling compared to Netflix. However how is linear TV purported to die when streaming continues to have so many points and struggles to compete on the hyper widespread content material entrance? It feels extra like streaming is chasing after linear TV and whispering “die already.” However whether or not it dies within the 5- to 10-year window that Reed Hastings wishes stays to be seen.

Disclosure: The Verge lately produced a sequence with Netflix.



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