×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Reed Hastings on Netflix-Cannes Spat: ‘Sometimes We Make Mistakes’

Adopting a more conciliatory tone, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Thursday that the streaming giant’s spat with the Cannes Film Festival had escalated beyond what the company intended and acknowledged that “sometimes we make mistakes.”

“I know we have a reputation as a disruptor,” Hastings said in Lille, northern France, during an onstage session at the Series Mania festival. “Sometimes we make mistakes. We got into a bigger situation with Cannes than we meant to.”

Hastings said that Cannes, which has banned from competition any film not destined for theatrical release in France, was “very sincere at finding a model that works for them and us.” He added: “We love Cannes. We’ve been many years and have buyers going this year.”

Hastings’ more emollient tone came just a few weeks after Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s content chief, blasted Cannes for its new rule on competition films. Sarandos told Variety that the festival had “chosen to celebrate distribution rather than the art of cinema….We are choosing to be about the future of cinema. If Cannes is choosing to be stuck in the history of cinema, that’s fine.”

Hastings said Thursday that, at least in France, Netflix would “focus now on series. Standup, docuseries – there is so much we can do without being a disruptor on the movie side.”

France has one of the strictest windowing schedules in the world, including a mandatory 36-month wait between a film’s theatrical release and its SVOD play. Hastings declined to criticize the rule. “It’s up to them to decide how to organize. We have no problem with the chronology, and it’s been successful for the French film industry.”

The Netflix boss  acknowledged the challenge posed by a looming new European Union quota demanding that 30% of content on OTT platforms in the region be European. That threshold is “a little tough” for Netflix to meet at the moment, Hastings said. “But we have three years. We’re building rapidly towards that.”

He added: “We need to figure out how to work within the systems….Regulation is critical to order. There is great regulation that is very useful. It’s up to us in every country to participate and follow those regulations.”

Asked about rumors that Netflix might try to acquire Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, Hastings left the door open, saying: “We do love Luc Besson, but I can’t comment on that.”

Hastings’ remarks came two-and-a-half weeks after he announced a slew of new European original series and promised to invest more than $1 billion in local production in Europe this year. Netflix said recently that Spain’s “La Casa de Papel” was the most-watched foreign-language show ever on Netflix.

More TV

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    SAG Award Nominations (Updating Live)

    Awkwafina and Laverne Cox announced the nominations for the 25th Annual SAG Awards on Wednesday morning. TNT, TBS, and truTV aired the announcement live from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif., beginning at 10 a.m. ET/PT. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris introduced the presenters, who revealed nominations for acting in television and film. Prior to [...]

  • European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe VestagerSlush

    Liberty Global, Vodafone's $22 Billion Cable Deal Under Investigation by EU

    The European Commission has started an in-depth probe into Vodafone’s proposed acquisition of a raft of Liberty Global assets in Europe. The commission cited concerns that the deal could reduce competition in Germany and the Czech Republic. “It’s important that all EU consumers have access to affordable and good quality telephone and TV services,” Commissioner [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    How to Watch the SAG Awards Nominations Live

    Awkwafina and Laverne Cox will announce the nominees for the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Wednesday at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif. Beginning 10 a.m. ET/PT, the nominations will be carried live on TNT, TBS, and truTV. SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris will introduce Awkwafina and Cox. Prior to that announcement, SAG Awards [...]

  • CBS News' chief White House correspondent

    Major Garrett Named Chief Washington Correspondent for CBS News

    CBS News has promoted Major Garrett to the post of Chief Washington Correspondent. A veteran journo, Garrett has served as Chief White House Correspondent since joining CBS News in 2012. With the promotion, Garrett will expand his beat to a wider range of stories coming out of Washington as well as the 2020 presidential election [...]

  • SF Studios Acquires Norwegian Production Company

    SF Studios Acquires Norwegian Production Company Paradox

    SF Studios has acquired Paradox, the well-established Scandinavian company behind Erik Poppe’s “U-July 22,” to launch Norwegian production operations. SF Studios, which will be celebrating its centenary next year, has up until now focused on the production of feature films and drama series in Sweden and Denmark. The company also boasts distribution operations in Norway [...]

  • Hulu Picks Up Anna Friel Drama

    Hulu Picks Up Anna Friel Drama ‘Butterfly’

    Hulu has snagged U.S. rights to “Butterfly,” the family drama about separated parents who disagree over how to deal with their youngest child, Max, who was born a boy but identifies as a girl. The series was commissioned by ITV in the U.K. “Marcella” star Anna Friel plays Max’s mother, Vicky, and Emmett J. Scanlon [...]

  • Rupert Murdoch

    BBC Orders Documentary Series on Rupert Murdoch’s Print Empire

    The BBC has ordered “A Tabloid Empire,” a three-part documentary series on Rupert Murdoch’s influence over the British press. The series will air on BBC Two in the U.K. and examine in detail Britain’s popular press between 1997 and 2012, a period that covers phone hacking and corruption but that also saw Murdoch’s and other [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content