Tuesday December 5, 2023

Netflix Won’t Stream Live Sports Any Time Soon

  • Netflix showed no interest in hastily acquiring streaming rights for live sports.
  • The company spoke about sports plans during its second-quarter earnings call.
Netflix/Design: Alex Brooks
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With just about every major streaming service going all-in on live sports, Netflix is often asked if it plans to do the same.

The answer is no — at least for now.

Our fundamental product is on-demand and ad-free, and sports tends to be live and packed with advertising,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call.

Sarandos hasn’t completely ruled out one day streaming live sports, but there isn’t an immediate path forward.

What is the best use of about $10 billion? I think that’s what it’s going to cost to invest meaningfully in big-league sports,” he continued. “When [live sports] becomes the best use of that next tranche of investment, we definitely would be open to it.”

Most other major streamers, like NBCUniversal’s Peacock and ViacomCBS’ Paramount+, take a different approach.

  • Amazon, for example, secured its first exclusive NFL deal in March to stream “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video for $10 billion over 10 seasons.
  • When asked if he sees merit in Amazon’s live sports strategy, Sarandos replied, “I’m not sure that they’re looking for the same thing from their content spend that we are.”

The comments came alongside a Q2 earnings report that saw the streaming giant lose some of its momentum.

Netflix added 1.5 million net new subscribers, its lowest quarterly showing to date — likely due to the rise of Disney+ and HBO Max. However, revenue reached $7.34 billion, up 19.4% year-over-year.

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