Netflix Indicates It Will Launch Vice-Like News Product

Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images
Ted Sarandos

"On the news side, we definitely are being more adventurous in terms of the genres we're going into."

Is Netflix planning to compete with Vice Media as a provider of news delivered online to millennials?

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, along with chief content officer Ted Sarandos certainly indicated as much during a conference call on Wednesday to discuss their third-quarter earnings.

The Netflix executives were asked point-blank whether news interested them, spurring an impromptu Q&A among one another.

"What's the likelihood Netflix competes directly with Vice in the next two years?" asked Hastings. "Probably high," answered Sarandos.

"On the news side, we definitely are being more adventurous in terms of the genres we're going into," said Sarandos, noting the upcoming talk-show with Chelsea Handler.

Sarandos reiterated, however, that live sports is not of interest to Netflix. "There are a lot of irrational bidders for sports. We're not anxious to become another one."

After the back-and-forth between Sarandos and Hastings about the odds being "high" that Netflix will compete with Vice within two years, spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo clarified with the following email:

"No such thing. Ted was referring to documentaries like the one we're doing with Chelsea Handler. We'll leave the news business to folks like yourself."

Video of the exchange between Hastings and Sarandos is here, at about the 21:30 mark.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

 

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