Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has made several dismissive comments about Netflix over the last few weeks. At a recent investor conference, for example, Bewkes laughed off the rise of Netflix, comparing it to the “Albanian army taking over the world.”
David Pakman, a partner with venerable venture capital firm Venrock, thinks that Bewkes and other Hollywood content owners are being short-sighted and anti-consumer with their current policies. Pakman’s entire interview on the subject, found on TechCrunch, is fascinating and worth watching. Some highlights are after the jump.
Bewkes (and Hollywood’s) Closed-mindedness
“[Bewkes and others’] anti-new distribution platform point of view is very typical of content owners—we saw this with the music industry . . . [Warner and other rightsholders] act irrationally and not in their own economic self-interest.”
Netflix and Piracy
“You need services that are delighting consumers and which consumers are paying for content so that they aren’t stealing. And Netflix is proven to help ward off a lot of piracy because it’s easier to stream from Netflix than it is to use one of the crazy torrent sites.”
Why Hollywood is Anti-Consumer
“What you want to do as a content owner is to lower the friction in people getting and buying your stuff. All [of Hollywood’s] licensing barriers and usage rule barriers stand in the way of you doing it . . . The reason Netflix exists is because the Blockbuster pricing policies were inconvenient and a problem for people. Late fees suck.”