Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirmed at a press event in Los Angeles Monday that his company won’t be taking part in Apple’s upcoming video service.
“Apple is a great company,” Hastings said. However, Netflix wanted to control its experience within its own app, which is why it wasn’t working with Apple. “We have chosen not to integrate into their services.”
Apple is widely expected to give the world a first look at its still-unannounced video service at a press event on its Cupertino campus early next week. In addition to featuring some of its own original shows, Apple is expected to also resell other subscription services like Starz and Showtime as part of its service, much like Amazon does with its Channels video subscription marketplace.
Netflix’s decision to abstain from Apple’s service is not much of a surprise to industry insiders: The company has traditionally been extremely protective of its own app experience, and also isn’t part of Amazon Channels, or Roku’s video subscription marketplace.
During a 30-minute Q&A with reporters from around the world, Hastings also tackled a number of other topics, including his view of the competitive landscape. Asked how Netflix can compete with companies like Apple and Amazon that clearly have a lot more money to spend, Hastings quipped: “With difficulty.”
He added that his company had been competing with Amazon in streaming ever since both companies first launched online video services some 15 years ago. “You do your best job when you have great competitors,” he said. But Hastings also had to admit that the increased competition has a direct impact on Netflix’s expenses. “It is definitely getting more expensive to source content,” he said.
Hastings also had a frank answer to a question about the company’s plans to enter the Chinese market. “We will be blocked in China for a long time,” he said. At one point, Netflix had hoped to enter China through a joint venture with a local partner, but Hastings on Monday pointed to a number of Western services who were forced to shut down in the country, including Apple’s iTunes Movies store.
Finally, Hastings had a bit of a surprising answer when asked about attempts to increase regulation of technology companies. “We are really mostly a content company powered by tech,” he said, arguing that Netflix nowadays was spending substantially more on content than on technology.