CBS' Poltrack: Netflix is a killer syndication market that's not really killing networks

While conceding that Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and other SVOD companies are causing noticeable audience erosion for linear television, CBS research chief David Poltrack told a New York banking audience Monday that streaming is doing more good than harm for networks these days.

Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, an event covered by the New York Times and other media, Poltrack described Netflix as a vital syndication market that generates interest in his networks' series without competing with it for ad sales.

"Wouldn't you prefer that your competition relied on old episodes of your programs as opposed to new content from someone else?" Poltrack said. "You have to look at the big picture. Yes, Netflix is a formidable competitor. But they're a valued partner as well."

Poltrack peeled back some of the mystery shrouding Netflix, which notoriously reveals no consumption data, noting that the SVOD service's lauded original series account for less than 10 percent of its overall usage. He added that broadcast network comedies and hour-long dramas produced a much larger audience share on the platform.

"It's been more than one year since Netflix introduced a true, new hit program," Poltrack said. "That batting average is below the batting average of the pay cable network, as well as the broadcast networks. Netflix is a player in the original content business, but they do not appear to have found any magic formula for success in that business."

Poltrack added that CBS expects to see growth from TV Everywhere services, as well as ad-supported VOD.

Sharing the same stage Monday, Netflix's chief content officer expressed a vision broader than competing with CBS, noting his company's aim to infiltrate every major market on the globe by 2020.

For more:
- read this New York Times story
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this GigaOm story

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