Netflix's Hunt sees TV future without commercials, cable bundles

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt has seen the future of TV, and it doesn't include commercials.

Neil Hunt, Netflix

Hunt (Image source: Netflix)

Speaking at Internet Week New York, Hunt said that TV's future will include unbundled cable packages, more personalized content and the end of commercials.

"Linear TV is ripe for replacement," Hunt said in a story reported by Advertising Age.

The trick is to throw away the traditional scheduled grid of TV offerings and let audiences use Internet TV to aggregate programming in smaller, more personalized bites. It also allows companies like Netflix to break from the mold of building programming within certain time structures--48 minutes with 12 minutes of advertising, for instance--and encourage binge viewing.

"The stories you watch today are not your parents' TV and stories kids watch in 2025 will blow your mind away," Hunt reportedly said.

This, of course, would blow apart the cable bundle and cause a seismic shift in the traditional advertising space, he said.

"Internet TV is divorced of the need to advertising revenue because we can develop direct relationships with the consumer," he said.

This, he fudged, doesn't necessarily mean all commercials will disappear, although "marketers will need to find a different place to advertise." Internet TV will allow targeted commercials for streaming video viewers.

Hunt made his comments on the same day that AT&T (NYSE: T) announced its intention to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) for $48.5 billion, because, as AT&T Chairman-CEO Randall Stephenson put it, "Traditional pay TV is a very good durable business in and of itself and financially this is a good transaction on that basis alone."

Stephenson's analysis of the future of television seems to go counter to the points Hunt was making. While the Netflix exec assailed the bundle, Stephenson embraced the idea, taking it a step further to include a bundle of services that link back to the TV viewing experience.

"We think it's what customers expect and we're adding the premium video provider in the industry by far," Stephenson said.

For more:
- Advertising Age has this story

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