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Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters and executive chairman Reed Hastings shared thoughts on entrepreneurship and their key business focus at the global streamer’s European headquarters in Amsterdam on Monday.
During a fireside chat in front of reporters that was moderated by Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, the younger brother of the Dutch king Willem-Alexander, Peters said: “We are a culture of reinvention and constantly seeking excellence. And so I would say there are only two things that we hold as religion: member satisfaction and profit. And at the end of the day, when you have that as your center of focus, you are constantly challenging yourself” and pushing into new fields, such as gaming and advertising. The comments come at a time when Hollywood giants are also increasingly concentrating on streaming profitability after an original focus on subscriber growth.
“Risk is like oxygen, and you thrive on it,” Hastings said when asked about how he thinks and feels about taking risks. Peters added that one key role for top executives is to encourage employees and creatives to “think big and take risks,” but smart risks.
Earlier in the day, Larry Tanz, Netflix’s vp, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) content, had spoken at the forum. After his appearance, Netflix creators from around the region who have worked on series and films for the streaming giant shared their experiences.
“What am I doing here?” the prince joked at the start of the session, saying it was his idea to talk to “inspiring entrepreneurs.”
Why did Netflix decide to open an office in Amsterdam in 2015, Constantijn asked the Netflix executive chairman. Hastings touted the city’s “high English fluency” and the fact that it is “centrally located,” so “I don’t know why anyone would choose different.” He also touted “very strong operations in Berlin and London.” Hastings also shared that “I have been skiing a lot” since handing the CEO reins to Peters and Ted Sarandos.
Peters joked that he worked on a “mostly failed” startup that tried to bring streaming to TVs — likely a few years too early.
Hastings also pointed out another irony, namely that Netflix, a U.S. company, has helped cross-pollinate creativity across European markets. “We didn’t set out to do that, but we have been the biggest builder of cross-European culture in the EU. It is partially because … networks are national networks (that) specialize in one language group; we specialize in connecting.”
Should actors be worried amid the rise of AI and other technologies? Peters said no. AI and other emerging technologies are “really tools,” which change the way creatives can work, he added. Could technology make a film like Avatar cost only $10 million in the near future? Peters said he expects technology more to make films like that look “100 times more amazing” rather than become that cheap.
Netflix, which ended 2022 with 230.75 million subscribers, has been expanding its presence and production operations in various international markets.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) quietly became the streamer’s biggest region in terms of subscribers in 2022, overtaking the combined user figure of 74.3 million for the U.S. and Canada with its 76.7 million. Its revenue for last year reached $9.75 billion, with average revenue per user (ARPU) of $10.99, compared to $15.86 for the U.S. and Canada.
Ampere Analysis has said that Netflix has become the second-largest TV company in Europe in terms of European revenue, accounting for 7.7 percent in 2022, before including online video advertising revenue, which the streamer just started recording. That was only behind Comcast with 10.3 percent of all European TV revenue across subscription streaming, pay TV, public TV and TV advertising, according to the firm’s analysts.
According to Netflix’s annual report, EMEA was the second-biggest region in terms of full-time employees for the streamer last year with 2,000, or 16 percent.
The EMEA region includes some of Netflix’s biggest suppliers of original fare after North America’s 801 hours, according to a recent Enders Analysis report. Spain, for example, was the No. 2 country in terms of the streamer’s sources of originals with 123 hours in 2022, while the U.K. ranked fifth with 92 hours, Enders detailed. Other key EMEA content hubs include Turkey (49 hours), Italy (43 hours), Germany (33 hours), South Africa (33 hours), France (30 hours), Poland (30 hours), Sweden (26 hours) and Portugal (19 hours).
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