Twenty to fifty years from now, when “you’re starting to get into some serious AI,” Reed Hastings isn’t sure whether Netflix is going to be entertaining you or entertaining the artificially intelligent bots.
The Netflix founder and CEO opined on the future during an interview on stage at Mobile World Congress here.
“What’s amazing about technology is it’s really hard to predict,” he says. “What we do is try to learn and adapt rather than try to commit to one particular view of what’s going to happen. And if virtual reality takes off we’ll adapt to that, if it becomes contact lenses that have amazing powers we’ll adapt to that.”
Hasting’s appearance at the mobile industry’s signature trade shindig was largely focused on Netflix’s experiences globally. Last January, Netflix expanded to 130 countries and is now just about everywhere, with one big exception — China. About half of Netflix’s nearly 100 million streaming members are international.
The company has been on a roll lately. In January, Netflix (NFLX) easily beat Wall Street earnings forecasts, boosted by international subscribers. The stock is trading at $143.41, not far off its 52-week high.
Hastings discussed the appeal behind the company’s international push.
“If you’re a filmmaker in Spain or Italy you’re excited about Netflix because it can give global reach for your film.” Hastings said he’s seen strong mobile usage throughout Africa, Middle East, Asia.
Indeed, Hastings doesn’t think there’s anything uniquely American about the Netflix viewer. “I don’t know if I would call it an American experience. It’s on a mobile phone, it’s on a Samsung TV. Fundamentally, the Internet is the most global medium we’ve ever seen and we’re trying to continue to learn how to do things well on the Internet.”
Hastings says Netflix is investing heavily around the world on network servers, and improving the connection. “Five or ten years from now the quality of Netflix on all of your devices will be just incredible and we don’t know exactly what that is. But we know that the Internet is allowing new experiences to get created.”
Meantime, Netflix is offering more content with a distinctly international flavor.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Edward C. Baig