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Netflix CEO champions subscriber growth

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 02:37

On a video conference call following the streaming video service's stellar earnings, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings talked about pricing, net neutrality and international expansion. Bobbi Rebell reports.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was all smiles on the company's earnings video conference call- after the video streaming service reported a 2.3 million jump in subscribers last quarter. And predicted subscriber growth this quarter will top year ago levels by double digits. Shows like "House of Cards" are bringing in the numbers - helping to boost earnings to $48 million- up from just $8 million in the year ago quarter. Hastings says the company is experimenting with pricing - including a more expensive family plan- and a cheaper single screen option. SOUNDBITE: REED HASTINGS, CEO, NETFLIX (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are testing lots of things, some of it's been reported, on some of it's not. One of it is a $6.99 one screen. I don't think you should read too much into that other than we are probing around the edges. There is no definite plan to do that. I would say generally as we put in the letter, we are trying to figure out if some models have a good, better, best tiering that make sense and provide some flexibility for our customers, at least for our new customers. Of course our existing customers we would grandfather very generously." Another topic: the recent net neutrality ruling- which allows Internet service providers, or ISPs, to charge customers more- or slowdown Internet access for heavy bandwith users like Netflix. SOUNDBITE: REED HASTINGS, CEO, NETFLIX (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There are some Draconian scenarios where some ISP's block Netflix but we think that is very unlikely and the most likely scenario at least in the near term is that there is no real change and the reason is if ISP's especially major ISP's were to contemplate blocking Netflix or other services it would significantly fuel the fire for more regulation which is not something they are interested in." As far as international expansion plans, Reed wound not name countries- but had this to say: SOUNDBITE: REED HASTINGS, CEO, NETFLIX (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think what we've seen with our success in the UK is that there can be very strong players like the BBCi player and Sky and we can still build a very successful business. And so I think the key is having unique content, a great reputation, a good value proposition and we can succeed and in many cases. The competitors can also. So you know we mostly focus on finding good markets that love content and that will steadily expand in Europe." But don't expect rolling ads at the top of programs - he says he has no plans to "cram advertisements down people's throats."

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Netflix CEO champions subscriber growth

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 02:37