/// Cord Cliff Coming: What Happens to TV When Netflix Streams Live Events?

August 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital

Netflix has never streamed a live event, and Reed Hastings says it never will. Now that’s a wise comment for a disruptor to put unambiguously on the record — especially since the TV networks could immediately pull their content from Netflix if they ever heard otherwise. But we all know that occasionally CEOs change their minds . So that’s why I decided to imagine what would happen if Netflix took on live events. And as soon as I played out the scenario, it became obvious: sooner or later, it will. Live Is the Lifeline of Television Television incumbents wouldn’t need to wave off cord cutting if they weren’t genuinely scared of it. New data show that 30 percent of U.S. Internet users would consider cutting their expensive and relatively despised cable subscription to watch TV exclusively online. But even with as much content as digital pure-plays like Netflix, iTunes, and Hulu now offer, there’s one outsized variable that’s holding the whole cable bundle together: live events. Live events are inordinately valuable. They have ultimate scarcity: they happen “right now,” they provide a focal point around which hordes of people come together, and they give their viewers an “I was there!” experience beyond just the content itself. They are one of the few must-haves in consumers’ media diets.

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Cord Cliff Coming: What Happens to TV When Netflix Streams Live Events?

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