At the AllThingsD conference Wednesday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings expressed lots of love for the high-end content produced by premium cable stars HBO and Showtime. And even as Netflix passes Showtime in subscribers and nears HBO’s membership figures, the channels remain serious competition to Netflix thanks to their impressive collections of original content: Game of Thrones, True Blood, Dexter, the list goes on.
Such high quality original content, remember, inspired Netflix to license its own original series, House of Cards, for a reported $100 million, outbidding AMC and HBO. But as Hastings told audience members Wednesday, he’d much prefer to spend that money on series from Showtime and HBO–but they won’t take Netflix’s checks.
Though Netflix does offer some Showtime and HBO content via DVD, the best content and series are not available for streaming online. That’s exactly where HBO and Showtime have a leg-up. So when citing the company’s main competition, Hastings mentioned TV Everywhere and Comcast’s Xfinity app–two streaming applications that give consumers the ability to stream premium On-Demand content from HBO and Showtime. (The other app missing from the list is, of course, HBO Go, which is truly giving Netflix’s mobile app a run for its money.)
Still, Hastings indicated that licensing House of Cards and other serialized shows would gives Netflix its own advantage over competitors. He added that Netflix hasn’t given up on licensing HBO and Showtime content–eventually the deals will go through if the checks are big enough, he said.
And a big check is exactly what Hastings said he’d need for one show in particular. When asked during the Q&A portion what show he’d really like to offer subscribers, Hastings (perhaps unsurprisingly) said, “[HBO’s] The Wire.”