Netflix CEO Reed Hastings made a surprise appearance at the Barclay's Global Conference due to the announcement that Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy would be leaving the firm. McCarthy explained that he recently sold a lot of Netflix stock in order to pursue a new opportunity, and he was not interested in competing with his "life-long friends at Netflix." The WSJ reports that McCarthy is leaving to run his own company.
Hastings said that International expansion was different for them than Facebook or other Web companies, because Netflix has to get the rights to content for every new country, do local marketing, and get local hardware support. Hastings noted that iTunes expanded country by country, and it looks like they will be emulating Apple's approach. They still expect to be profitable in Canada within 1 year.
TV shows dominate movie viewing, Hastings said, and they would be rapidly expanding the TV catalog. With many of the shows I like on Hulu Plus being blocked from TV viewing, Netflix could steal many of Hulu's paying customers.
Hastings, when asked about the Starz deal, that they could "live without it." It'll be interesting to see if they renew the deal or if this is a negotiating tactic. He noted that no content provider has more than 20% of the movies or TV shows Netflix is interested in acquiring.
When asked about Blockbuster's lack of 28 day delay and if it was hurting Netflix, Hastings said that they weren't tracking it -- 98% of management's attention is on streaming, and only 2% is paying attention to DVD. He doesn't believe Blockbuster is impacting Netflix -- they're expecting a record Q4 for DVD shipments.
A recording of the webcast is available on the Netflix website.