Reed Hastings on Why Netflix is Better Than Amazon Prime, Hulu

    September 26, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Amazon has added a ton of content to its Prime Instant Video service over the last few months, and that may have put Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the offensive.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Hastings took a not-so-subtle dig at Amazon by describing their Prime video service as a “confusing mess.” He also reiterated that Netflix spends more on content, and that has resulted in Netflix actually having much more content that its competitors.

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

In the U.S., our content budget is about three times [Amazon’s], and we’ve got about three times more content. And what our customers tell us is they want Netflix to have more content, not to have two-thirds less at a lower price. That’s not that interesting a proposition for them. [Amazon has its Prime membership service] and it’s really about low-cost shipping, but why is video in there? It’s kind of a confusing mess.

We can do a better user experience on video because it’s our only business. The way we do algorithms to choose which content is shown to you is much better than Amazon’s, much better than Hulu’s. They’ve got talented teams, but they’re doing a lot of other things and we’re focused on this one area.

Them fightin’ words.

Hastings main point: Netflix is all about streaming video, and because we’re focused on that one thing, we can do it better. Not sure how that argument stacks up with Hulu, but oh well.

As I mentioned above, Amazon has been pretty busy adding content to their Prime service. In the past few weeks, they’ve inked deals with ESPN, NBCUniversal, and EPIX. According to Amazon, the service now boasts over 22,000 titles.

[WSJ via CNET]
  • bcs

    yeah, right…Netflix’s wonderful algorithm was recommending lots of things….things I’d already watched and rates well. Oh- and now they have great new category called ‘watch it again’! Wow, that’s really helpful- showing a list of stuff that I’ve already seen and rates. What happened to that great new algorithm they got from their contest? Oh – that’s right….it was ‘too expensive to implement’. Dumped the service, shorting the stock. Amazon Prime is looking better and better!

  • yosemite sam

    Mr. Hastings, I don’t really care how many titles you have in Netflix library. You see, the key point is the titles in the library, presumably need to be AVAILABLE really, in order to claim that “feather”. Don’t you think??
    I am a former Netflix customer. I resigned after numerous issues with your sub par tech department. hint Netflix: dear customer, not our fault would you like microsoft’s number??..Microsoft:..certainly not our fault, would you like netflix’s number?? What a wonderful way to avoid RESPONSIBILITY! All that amounted to and you know it, is BACKDOOR THROTTLING its such a shame that the general public has no idea what the heck netflix is throwing at the poor customer. and by the way before way before netflix even admitted there were multiple issues with silverlight, a teenager was telling me what the issues were and I politely called to confer with u know who and they refused to repost event though the so called solution at the time could help any other customer out. well, to make a long story short, the media is a wonderful tool.

  • Jim

    I had netflix streaming service a while back. I found the selection for streaming to be mostly old or less than B movies. I guess if you have a lot of crap quality does not matter. Look at the choices you have on Amazon and Hulu. Netflix is a joke. I do not want to order DVD’s all the time. Unfortunately, most of the things I would like to watch are on DVD through Netflix and not the streaming end. Why pay for an online streaming service I do not use. Here is a hint Netflix, start adding better content for streaming. You people are a joke.

  • George Porter

    In the music business a radio station can play any song and pay a standard fee to ASCAP. There is no such central clearing house for use of or paying royalties for films or TV shows. Given the hodge-podge of ownership, Netflix is doing the best job of anyone at negotiating for the rental rights. They don’t try to be exclusive. They pay fair and they charge fair. Everysingle time I’ve had a problem–for example with Microsoft’s Silverlight which I heard MS is going to abandon…well Netflix emailed to me exact instructions how to fix that problem–likewise any other little problem. I recognize that their programmers are not as good as me at web pages and Netflix has acted on at least one of my many suggestions. But, at least they have LISTENED to every one, at tried to do something. Make a list of titles you want and request those movies or shows. No ads, no clutter. Just screamin’ streamin’ content. I’ve been able to watch every L&O, every Stargate (in proper sequential order, thank you). Thanks guys.