Last week when reports surfaced that the NFL might be courting online video distributors with a package of Thursday-night games, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) quickly attracted attention as a potential buyer for such rights. But the company insists it's not interested in distributing live sports events.
During the company's Q3 earnings video conference, JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth asked whether Netflix might bid on such rights as a way to entice more people to try its service.
"We're still not interested in sports," Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said. What Netflix is good at, and where it improves the traditional TV experience, is on-demand viewing. "I don't think that brings much to sports viewing, which is primarily a linear experience," Sarandos said.
Instead, the focus at Netflix remains on developing exclusive TV programming along the lines of its "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" series. in 2014, Netflix plans to double its investment in original content while still keeping it less than 10 percent of its overall global content costs, it said in a letter to shareholders.
That figure includes spending on shows the company has already announced and on some new projects it still has in the pipeline, Sarandos said.
"We're trying to move as quickly as we can" on originals, Sarandos said during the video conference. "We're trying to optimize for high-quality shows. So they take a long time to discovery, they take a little bit longer to build and the delivery time becomes a little more elastic, he said.
But Netflix could spend an even higher percentage of its budget on original programming, he said, citing HBO as an example. "About 40 percent of their spending is on original programming. So there is a big gap between where we are and where we could be."
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