Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was interviewed by Kara Swisher at the AllThingsD conference, and Hastings confirmed that the Starz deal hasn't been done yet, but admitted it could be in the $200 million range. Hastings & Swisher discussed new releases, how Netflix compliments cable TV, competition, international expansion, and The Wire.
Netflix CFO David Wells spoke at the BOA Merrill Lynch 2011 Technology Conference, and Erik Gruenwedel from Home Media Magazine reports that Wells said that some reports about the pricing of the new Starz deal were right (estimates are $200 million or more), but that “The deals we’re making are well within the [14%] operating margins." Wells also discussed competition, advertising, and a renewed focus on DVD customers.
When asked whether Netflix would bid on movie rights heretofore locked up by pay-TV channels through 2015, Wells used a baseball analogy to describe the status on acquiring new streaming content.
He said acquiring major studio feature films (not independent fare) was in the eighth inning, while TV content licensing was is in the fifth inning.
“There’s lots of TV content out there that hasn’t been licensed,” Wells said.
He concluded that there exists the potential to create a new “ball game” in the future for major motion pictures when studio agreements with pay-TV channels such as HBO and Showtime expire.
“There is going to be a lot of experimentation, evolution and feeling out in terms of the deals, the length, the terms, what rights are included,” Wells said, adding he expects changes to occur as early as 2013 when Warner’s first pay-TV agreements expire.
If you're interested, you can listen to the Q&A session on the investor section of the Netflix website.
Thanks to Tx, Art, and Tom for sending this in.