Yesterday the industry was abuzz with talk that Netflix was pitching a peace plan to the cable companies. The idea was that Netflix would become just another piece of the cable bill, squaring off against the likes of HBO and backing off their direct OTT challenge. Honestly, I found it hard to take seriously. According to FierceCable today, Comcast agrees with me.
The Comcast spokeswoman’s quote was “We have no plans to offer access to Netflix to our customers through our Xfinity TV service, no matter what device”, which in non-corporate-speak means ‘Fat chance’. Comcast, of course, has tussled with Level 3 as a proxy for its distaste for all the bits Netflix sends down its pipes.
Now, I do believe that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings may have been talking to cable companies about a variety of things, including various hypotheticals. Some of those surely involve revenue or cost sharing in some form, else there would be nothing to talk about. But for now there is no grand bargain on the table that could even remotely satisfy both sides.
What Hastings is doing is partly just looking for flaws in the cables’ united front and partly just trying to move the conversation back to a place where the public and the media aren’t still angry with him over his company’s bizarre miscue last year.