Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings is looking to the future of content. He’s forecasting at a time when users stop binge-watching movies and television shows. Hastings is now seeking out possible substitutes. One of the content substitutes could be entertainment pills, or drugs. You now have to ask yourself: is the future of content “pharmacological”?
Netflix, Inc. Says Drugs are the Answer
Decades ago, one of the common things to do on a Saturday would be going to the opera. Years later, people would head to the movie theater. As time went by, more people decided to stay home to watch films and TV shows on cable. Now, consumers just binge-watch in their free time. Forget going out.
Speaking at the Wall Street Journal‘s WSJD event on Monday, Hastings told the audience that he’s looking to the future. Hastings noted that things like movies and shows “will be like the opera and the novel,” suggesting that they will become pastimes. Eventually, “there would be substitutes” that will become more mainstream.
What would be those substitutes in the future? That’s what Hastings is trying to figure out right now.
One idea he is mulling over is a “pharmacological” solution. In other words, users would imbibe entertainment drugs to allow viewers to experience entertainment. No, Netflix wouldn’t have you chewing mushrooms or smoking weed. Instead, it would be a pill that’s safer and has fewer side effects.
“In twenty or fifty years, taking a personalized blue pill, you just hallucinate in an entertaining way, and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable,” he said. “If the source of human entertainment in thirty or forty years is pharmacological we’ll be in real trouble.”
Quartz is already referring to it as a “Matrix-like hallucinogenic pill.”
Hastings refrained from confirming if his R&D team is working in labs right now creating drugs that have hours of content. Whatever the case, blogs are having a good time making light of the situation. Netflix and pill, anyone?
Whatever the case, Netflix doesn’t want to become the next Blockbuster. It will try anything.
Netflix, Inc. Unconcerned About Content Costs
It’s no secret that Netflix is spending big money on content. It was reported on Monday that Netflix is raising close to a $1 billion to fund its own content in order to control exclusivity and global rights.
But this has some investors and analysts worried. Is Netflix going overboard on unique content?
Hastings doesn’t think so. He likened Netflix’s situation to that of a million-dollar house. If you borrow $50,000 against your million-dollar home, are you endangering the house’s future? No, says Hastings.
With his lack of concern over growing competition, you may have to wonder if Hastings fears anything.
“So it’s really about can we do the best shows, can we do the best work we can? — and of course there’s always going to be a lot of tough competitors,” he said.
“If you don’t watch Netflix some night what do you do? Sometimes you watch a movie, sometimes you watch sports, sometimes you’re on YouTube or Facebook or Snapchat. We compete broadly for screen time – that’s not just against a TV provider it’s against all the things you do with that screen.”
If Hastings is able to recreate last quarter’s results then investors may not be too worried, either.