Whether a future based fundamentally on fandom is superior in any objective sense is impossible to say. But it’s worth keeping in mind that the whole idea of one great entertainment medium that unites the country isn’t really that old a tradition, particularly American, nor necessarily noble. We may come to remember it as a twentieth-century quirk, born of particular business models and an obsession with national unity indelibly tied to darker projects. The whole ideal of “forging one people” is not entirely benevolent and has always been at odds with a country meant to be the home of the free. Certainly, a culture where niche supplants mass hews closer to the original vision of the Americas, of a new continent truly open to whatever diverse and eccentric groups showed up. The United States was once, almost by definition, a place without a dominant national identity. As it revolutionizes television, Netflix is merely helping to return us to that past.
For subscriber enjoyment and the buzz. If there is more buzz, more people join.
That’s how you differentiate. With on-demand, you can have doubles and not a home run. But networks can’t. That’s why they have to do pilots and pay for overhead. We don’t. We have incredible shows for the Hindi community and other audiences. The whole notion of what is a hit is different. We are about figure out what people are passionate about. We aren’t trying to program to the lowest common denominator. Linear TV has had a one-to-many broadcast, whether its NBC or HBO. We have more creative latitude.
Linear TV today will be like landline telephone. You’ll still have it. Many people will pay for it but won’t use it very much. The most communication will go to the mobile phone. Electronics will get better. There will be an iPhone 9 or iPhone 10, and it will be impossibly thin and have amazing resolution, and we’ll have incredible bandwidth.
For residential, cable will have their own, fiber will have theirs, too. There will be radio stacks and different providers. The question is how much speed will there be and how much competition.
Billing and bundling will be tricky. I don’t know to what degree the bundle will break up. More likely than not. HBO in the Nordics is competing as a stand-alone [offering]. The question is if the [cable providers] can handle the disruption.
We have Open Connect, how we connect to their networks. It’s servers that have all our discs. We bring the servers and connect them to their networks. We have to carry the bits to where they want, to each metro area, at our cost. The ISPs carry them. And we don’t charge them, and they don’t charge us.
Consumers want a box with multiple services. They want Hulu and YouTube and ESPN. We’re trying to be like Google Maps, on every device.
It depends on what you are trying to attract. Part of our proposition, like HBO, is to differentiate ourselves in a way so that we’re worth paying for. Being commercial-free is part of that proposition.
It depends on how quickly the Postal Service has problems. Taxpayers soon will be bailing out the post office to a huge number. So we’ll stay in that business for at least a decade, because people still need the post office to deliver Social Security checks, medicine, etc.
In peak traffic on a Friday, 30 percent of it is Netflix.
We don’t gobble anything. Their users choose to watch us. They sell a service to their members, and their members are using it.
How hard immigration is. In 1998, I worked hard on H-1B visas, and it’s been a long and hard-fought battle. I’m optimistic something will pass this year.
This industry structure has another virtue, too: Network neutrality is protected by default. Traffic from Yahoo comes to the residential ISP in a big bundle along with traffic from lots of other Web sites. As I argued in a 2008 paper for the Cato Institute, that makes non-discrimination the default and gives residential ISPs limited leverage over distant Web sites. If the residential ISP wanted to discriminate against Yahoo traffic, it would need to make an explicit decision to block or degrade it, which would likely trigger a customer backlash. That has allowed network neutrality to thrive in the 1990s and 2000s even though there was no formal network neutrality regulations until 2010.
One clear lesson, though, is that further industry consolidation can only make the situation worse. The more concentrated the broadband market becomes, the more leverage broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon will have over backbone providers like Cogent. That gives the FCC a good reason to be skeptical of Comcast's proposed acquisition of its largest rival, Time Warner Cable. Blocking that transaction could save the agency larger headaches in the future.
The companies said in a joint statement that they have been "working collaboratively over many months" to strike a multi-year agreement. The terms were not disclosed and Netflix will not receive preferential network treatment, the companies said. With more than 44 million subscribers throughout the world, Netflix has been making an effort to connect directly with broadband Internet providers. It has struck similar deals with Cablevision and Cox. The announcement comes as Comcast prepares to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, a deal that will draw the scrutiny of U.S. antitrust enforcers. The combined company would have a near 30 percent share of the U.S. pay television market, as well as be the major provider of broadband Internet access. At the same time, Federal regulators are wrestling with an issue known as "Net neutrality" concerning broadband providers and whether they can slow down traffic to some particular websites or applications, potentially forcing content providers to pay for faster Web service. The Federal Communications Commission said last week it plans to rewrite the rules after a U.S. court struck down the commission's previous version.