Reed Hastings Jokes HBO Go is Netflix’s ‘Bitch’22 Jan, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Shortly before Netflix’s Jan. 22 live-streamed fourth-quarter earnings “interview” with CEO Reed Hastings, CFO David Wells and CCO Ted Sarandos was interrupted due to technical difficulties, moderator Rich Greenfield of BTIG Research asked Hastings to opine on HBO CEO Richard Plepler’s comments last week at a media event in New York where he dismissed concerns subscribers might be sharing their HBO Go password with non-subscribers.
HBO Go is HBO’s TV Everywhere platform enabling authenticated subscribers access to more than 1,900 hours of on-demand catalog and premium content. HBO Go is seen by many as a competitor to Netflix should it ever be launched as a standalone service. Indeed, there is no love lost between Netflix and HBO as the two services compete for content (HBO reportedly coveted acquiring the rights to “House of Cards”) and eyeballs.
Plepler’s contention was that the number of possible freeloaders on HBO Go is immaterial, and likely made up of HBO household family members and friends who will eventually subscribe on their own.
Netflix has implemented changes to the number of people who can share a single account and watch separate content simultaneously.
“It was an interesting comment, I suppose,” Hastings responded. “So I guess Plepler, the CEO of HBO, doesn’t mind me sharing his account information. So it’s Plepler@HBO.com and his password is Netflix Bitch.”
The comment elicited laughs all around.
Greenfield blogged Jan. 23 that he believes HBO and Netflix actually share the belief that ubiquitous unfettered access to content online is paramount to widespread consumer adoption and satisfaction.
"Password sharing will always exist, however, it can managed by controlling simultaneous logins," Greenfield wrote. "Ultimately, we believe easy access across all devices with great content will drive people to pay for service."