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Netflix CEO Suggests Streamer Would Consider Sports If They Could Control The Source

Michael King

Netflix has historically stayed away from sports with the sole exception of documentary programming like The Last Dance or Home Game.

In an interview with German-language news magazine Der Spiegel this week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the world’s largest streaming company doesn’t go into sports programming because it simply cannot control the source.

“We don’t own the Bundesliga, they can make deals with whoever they want. But that kind of control would be a prerequisite for us to be able to offer our customers a safe deal,” Hastings told the magazine.

He did leave the door open when it came to Formula 1 Racing, however.

“A few years ago, the rights to Formula 1 were sold. At that time we were not among the bidders, today we would think about it,” Hastings said.

According to the interview, Hastings said that the streaming marketplace has not yet reached saturation point “by far.”

“One must not forget that in the US half of the households still do not own smart TVs, that is TV sets connected to the internet,” he told the magazine. “It will take another 10 or even 20 years before linear TV disappears completely.”

The next big move for Netflix looks to be in the world of gaming. This week, word has emerged of an actual VR game called Eden Unearthed for Oculus Quest. Based on the Eden anime series, Eden Unearthed re-tells parts of the show’s story while the player navigates an animated landscape on a motorbike.

We already know Netflix isn’t looking to re-invent the wheel with their games, focusing mostly on simple, enjoyable, and, probably most important of all, ad-free experiences with their upcoming games. We’ve seen glimpses of Netflix’s two Stranger Things mobile games that were demo tested in Poland earlier this year and we’ll likely see future games exist somewhere between mobile games and this simple VR experience.

“We view gaming as another new content category for us, similar to our expansion into original films, animation, and unscripted TV,” Netflix said in its 2021 2Q shareholder letter in July.

Eden Unearthed is available now on Oculus Quest VR devices.

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