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Netflix’s Sarandos: Streaming Services from Disney, WarnerMedia, NBCU Complementary to Netflix

Stephanie Sengwe

Remember the good ole days when you basic Netflix subscription was only $8? Those days seem so far gone now with the streaming service’s premium package now sitting at a hefty $16 and facing major competition from the likes of Disney, Amazon, WarnerMedia, and NBCU. Well, naturally, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos is aware of all these conversations consumers and industry media are having and he sat down with Liberty Global CEO Mark Fries and addressed all those points.

When Netflix first came out, it was a cost-effective way to watch all your favorite movies, for as long as you want as much as you wanted. Over the course of the last five years, however, the streaming service has upped its price point and left industry experts wondering whether or not audiences will remain with the service for the long term.

While he understands that there is some push back, Sarandos assured Fries that the new price merely matches the quality of content being rolled out by the service. Heavy-hitters such as Orange Is The New Black, Stranger Things, The Crown, and Black Mirror don’t come cheap. This past January, Netflix was reported to up its spending on original content from approximately $12 billion in 2018 to $15 billion this year.

He stated, “I honestly think about it not in terms of price but in terms of value. So if people are getting the value for the dollar, they should track each other really closely. If you look at the growth in watching, the growth in quality programming, growth in engagement, that our subscribers have over that time period, it’s still pretty cheap.”

Sarandos also addressed the fact that Netflix’s competitors such as Amazon, as well as upcoming services like Disney+, WarnerMedia, & NBCU, have garnered the attention of viewers. With some of the most watched shows on Netflix—Friends (Warner Bros.) and The Office (NBCUniversal)—originating from Netflix’s now-competitors, there’s speculation that these shows could leave Netflix when the respective services launch.

Sarandos, however, believes that each service has something unique to offer viewers and argued that viewers are more likely to add-on than to substitute. “The thing that’s most interesting about these upcoming services and the services that are in the market today is that mostly they have none of the same programming,” he told Fries. “Nothing that’s on Disney+ is going to be on Netflix and nothing that’s on Netflix is going to be on Comcast or the Warner Media Services coming up. They’re all very unique so what people are looking to us for, they’ll look to us and if they’re looking for something different they might add on.”

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