Netflix CEO striving for 'simple'
Staff Writer Jaclyn Giovis is reporting from the National Retail Federation's 2007 Convention & Expo in New York.
Netflix Inc. launched its new "Watch Now" offering today, a feature that will eventually make it possible for all customers to instantly watch DVDs and TV episodes over the Internet.
Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings, who spoke to attendees at the National Retail Federation's 2007 Convention & Expo, said the company's goal is to make it "incredibly easy and simple" for customers to view movies and television.
Netflix eventually plans to advance its "Watch Now" feature so that it is compatible with multiple software systems and customers can access movies and TV episodes via their cell phone, Hastings said. The company also expects to expand its existing online content from 1,000 titles to about 70,000, he said.
The timing of the company's "Watch Now" announcement, he says, has nothing to do with rival Blockbuster Inc. Blockbuster launched a program in November that allows online customers to bypass the mail and return DVDs to its retail stores.
"It was pure coincidence between their launch and ours," Hastings said. "We're focused on online delivery. We're an Internet company."
That said, Hastings believes there will always be customers who prefer to visit a store.
"People tend to underestimate stores," he said. "That will be a segment that I think will be around for a long time."