Netflix's Reed Hastings Hasn't Considered Stepping Down, 'Not for A Second'

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NEW YORK - Netflix CEO Reed Hastings apologized again for the streaming video company's recent missteps, telling the New York Times that "we know that we need to do better going forward" and saying that he hasn't considered stepping down.

And he emphasized that Netflix is not trying to put HBO and other premium TV services out of business.

Confronted with the company’s recent stock decline from more than $300 in July to less than $120 now, the Times asked him if he has considered resigning as CEO. "No, not for a second," Hastings replied. "I founded Netflix. I’ve built it steadily over 12 years now, first with DVD becoming profitable in 2002, a head-to-head ferocious battle with Blockbuster and evolving the company toward streaming. This is the first time there have been material missteps. If you look at the cumulative track record, it’s extremely positive."

Asked about a recent reversal of a plan to separate Netflix's DVD rental from its streaming business by creating a DVD service called Qwikster, Hastings explained: "Over the last couple of years, we’ve been moving toward streaming, doing the Starz deal, doing the Xbox deal. We simply moved too quickly, and that’s where you get those missed execution details. It’s causing, as you would expect, an internal reflectiveness…We need to take a few deep breaths and not move quite as quickly." But he also added that his team doesn't want "to overcorrect and start moving stodgily."

Faced with the question if the Qwikster plan was an arrogant move, he replied: "No, I think it was just a mistake in underestimating the depth of emotional attachment to Netflix."

Asked what Apple co-founder Steve Jobs would say about how Netflix has operated in the last few months, Hastings said: "I’m not going to put words in a deceased man’s mouth."

Netflix has been working on original series House of Cards, which has put the competition in direct competition with HBO, Starz and Showtime. Is Netflix's goal to put places like HBO out of business?  "We’re not trying to put HBO out of business," Hastings told the Times. "I’m an HBO subscriber, and I watch a bunch of great shows on HBO. We did compete with HBO for House of Cards. We do compete for viewers’ time, for dollars and content, but they’re larger and certainly the incumbent."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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