Customer Centricity

Netflix wants to work with operators to banish buffering

Speaking at Mobile World Congress this week, Netflix’s CEO and Founder Reed Hastings told delegates the company wants to work with network operators to deliver a great viewing experience.

He told the Barcelona crowd that “binge watching” isn’t going away and that most linear networks will eventually convert to offer this.

Hastings said, “In future all video you view will be on the internet, and Netflix will be a slice of that.”

This means growing competition from the likes of YouTube, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and more, but on that, he said, “[Our competitors] are not really trying to kill us, they’re trying to serve consumers and in that way, it’s wonderful.”

To stay ahead, Netflix is focused on great programming (Netflix won its first Oscar for White Helmets on Sunday) and viewing experience. And this requires co-operation with operators.

Hastings said he wanted to banish buffering, commenting, “We are investing very heavily at many levels on the network servers, on the interconnects with different ISPs around the world, and on the codec side so that the experience on mobile, laptop and TV is instant. There’s no delay, and that changes your relationship with a service.”

He added, “Everyone collectively is making the internet experience amazing together.”

Unlimited video data

He also talked about data caps, saying that a number of telecom companies are pioneering new ways of offering unlimited video streaming at lower speeds – “That’s very efficient on the network,” he said.

At the same time, Netflix is investing in codecs – video encoders – so that at lower speeds you still get “incredible picture quality” on a mobile screen. In some cases, he said, Netflix can offer a very high quality picture at speeds as low as 300Kbps and is hoping to get down to 200Kbps.

He commented, “We are getting more and more efficient at working with operators’ bandwidth,” while they’re “trying to figure out for the whole industry” how to offer unlimited video on mobile.

He added, “It’s a very compelling proposition, not only for Netflix, but for many providers.”

Just enjoying great TV without worrying about the data cap – “That’s where we see things going in that [area of]innovation,” he said.

Watch Hastings’ full keynote here.



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Prior to joining the Forum, she wrote for a range of technology clients. Sarah is most interested in the stories and people behind the technology.

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