Why Netflix Doesn’t Have Live Sports
While several other streaming services have made pushes into live television and sports content, Netflix has resisted. CEO Ted Sarandos recently explained why. One would think that with the recent-ish announcement that Netflix is going to get into the video game industry, they’d be willing to take these kinds of risks. According to Sarandos, the reward just isn’t there when it comes to sports.
Despite declining subscriber counts at the company, Netflix is still going strong. Perhaps a reason for that is the type of content it hosts, along with the sheer staying power it's had, and its ability to change with the times. Sarandos spoke at a recent keynote event, saying:
We’re not anti-sports, we’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.
He also spoke of how the company did “a thing that’s kind of unheard-of in the history of television” after getting over 150 million views on Squid Game “without having to premiere it after the Super Bowl. We didn’t need a big loss leader to build a mass audience.”
Among the recent buzz regarding Netflix is the fact that they're introducing an ad-supported tier, for around $7 a month. This isn’t really an unprecedented update or anything like that. Hulu has had an ad-supported tier forever, while Disney+ just introduced one as well. It only makes sense that Netflix would eventually make this shift as well.
Sarandos recently said:
[The Execs at Netflix] always have talked about our company as being a ‘choice’ company. A lot of people, my son included, are willing to watch ads and take a lower price. Advertising for us is ‘crawl, walk, run.’ We just turned it on, and it works.
While choice is definitely a plus for consumers, it's difficult to make the argument about "choice" when ad-supported tiers frequently cost as much as tiers that were previously ad-free. Nothing about the data we have regarding Netflix's ad-supported tier suggests that'll be the case. It's just that other services have gone that route.