Netflix's Hastings: We Wouldn't Survive War With Cable Ops

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings reiterated that his company does not want to deliver current-season TV shows or newer movies to its more than 23 million subscribers, saying such a move would spark "World War III" with incumbent pay-TV providers, speaking Tuesday at the Wired Business Conference in New York.

"We've consistently said getting into current season [TV] or newer movies would not be profitable for us. It would be an Armageddon. It would be World War III, and we likely wouldn't survive that battle," said Hastings, as quoted by CNNMoney.

The Netflix "niche" philosophy is to stay "not too big, not too small," Hastings said, according to CNNMoney: "[Netflix is] not every single thing all of you folks want to watch, but it's $8 a month. It's choosier content."

As of the end of March, Netflix had 23.6 million subscribers, with 22.8 million in the U.S. -- more video customers than Comcast. In announcing first-quarter earnings last week, Netflix executives reiterated their position that its service offering is "a supplemental channel" to traditional pay-TV providers.

In fact, it turns out Hastings is a Comcast video subscriber. He said he subscribes to cable TV to get sports, news and current-season TV programming. "It's not that we can't do live. We don't have any advantage," he said, according to PaidContent.

Hastings also said Internet connection speeds have followed Moore's Law over the last 12 years -- doubling every 18 months -- and he predicted that consumers will have 1 Gigabit per second connections to the home by 2020.