CES 2010: Interviews with Technology Leaders Rubinstein, Rubin, and Reed - Page 2
The conversation with D’s second guest, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, focused primarily on the business issues around the arcane content “windowing” rules applied by studios and content owners looking to protect revenue streams from different media delivery platforms (theatrical, cable, DVD, downloads). While consumers wonder why a certain video isn’t available in their instant queue but can be rented as a DVD, Hastings is fighting the battle to protect the DVD business from an aggressive assault by low cost kiosk vendor Redbox. In addition, free streamed content is being enjoyed by consumers on Hulu, while paid downloadable content is accessible from iTunes for portability on an iPhone or iPod.
Hastings said the company has studied the lifecycle of physical media and proposed that it will be 20 years before DVDs are gone from the eco-system. As digital downloading and streaming have become more mainstream, Hastings has seen the most active Netflix customers embrace both physical and digital media. He expects by the end of this year, 50% of Netflix users will watch streamed content.
Google’s Andy Rubin spoke about the direct sales of Nexus One as being an effort to disrupt the channel and downplayed recent consumer complaints about service and support simply as “growing pains.” Every step is an opportunity to learn, Rubin maintained, and his team is working on improving the total experience constantly. He pointed to evidence of continuous software updates as a proof point that the Android team is never satisfied, even though “good enough” may be what they choose to release.
Rubin also discussed an Enterprise Edition of Nexus One, which he proposed would be targeted for corporate customers. Wall Street Journal editor Walt Mossberg seemed perplexed by the notion of a Google enterprise device, but Rubin assured the audience that Google’s corporate move into enterprise cloud computing makes the device well suited to service IT managers and corporate users.