Contrary to what you might have seen in some exciting headlines, Netflix is not getting into the news business.
During an earnings call yesterday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and COO Ted Sarandos made some comments that had media folks jumping and screaming. As Variety reports, Hastings asked Sarandos “What is the likelihood we compete directly with Vice in the next two years?” “Probably high,” replied Sarandos.
Then, to top that off, Sarandos said “On the news side, we are definitely being more adventurous about the genres we are going into.”
That was enough. Variety was the first to report it, with the headline “Netflix Expresses Interest in Expanding Into News Programming.” Practically every media person was rapid firing their hot takes.
However, almost immediately after the earnings call, Netflix PR scrambled and clarified that the company “Was not getting into the reprint and live news business.” Hastings and Sarandos were merely referring to documentaries and talk shows.
As to the “competing with Vice” comment, you probably guessed already that Vice CEO Shane Smith took it in stride:
IFC parodies us. Netflix following us. MSM hates us. All we trying to do is not suck. http://t.co/iScyCzZOEw
— shane smith (@shanesmith30) October 14, 2015