Speaking at a conference hosted by the Royal Television Society – in Cambridge, UK – Hastings spoke of "a whole new world starting in November", citing the launches of Apple and Disney's platforms as well as the prospect of NBC's recently announced Peacock streaming service.
“It’ll be tough competition," he added, asserting that viewers after on demand TV content would "have a lot of choice" in the wake of the various services.
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Business as usual
The increase in competition doesn't seem to be ruffling Netflix's feathers, though, as Hastings clarified that Netflix would continue its strategy of binge-watching series, amid increasing levels of investment in original content. Hastings explicitly said that Netflix would not be acquiring production companies itself, though: "We’re not in the acquisition business.”
However, we've also heard word of Netflix internally being a bit more careful with its purse-strings, with more emphasis on bringing in viewer numbers than critically-acclaimed content – something that could help profits in the short term but harm its reputation in the long run.
Netflix's growth from a DVD-rental business to a behemoth in online TV streaming has come from a willingness to adapt its business model; we may well be entering a more conservative time for the business, as the company seeks to maintain its current operations rather than do anything drastically different with it.
Subscriber numbers in 2019 haven't matched expectations, either – and trials of mobile-only streaming plans and aspects of human curation seem like small tinkering that may not be enough to drive the aggressive growth Netflix needs to fend off the likes of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus.