Netflix Is Bigger Than Albania
"Albania takes it up a notch," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on Facebook this morning, shortly after House of Cards and Arrested Development locked up a dozen Emmy nominations between them.
If producers taking their television shows to streaming services in lieu of traditional broadcast outlets needed any kind of validation -- and it didn't, let's be honest -- this would be it. If a show is good, it's good, and viewers have become platform agnostic.
The Albania comment may need a little fleshing out for those unaware of what Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said three years ago, dismissing the threat of Netflix's rising popularity.
"Is the Albanian army going to take over the world?" he said in addressing the challenge of the fast-growing video service. "I don't think so."
It's not the first time that Hastings has taken to Facebook to rub things in Bewkes' face. When Time Warner's HBO decided to offer HBO Go without a pay TV subscription in Scandinavia -- breaking from the premium movie service's practice of requiring costly cable and satellite television plans for access -- Hastings went to the Albanian well.
"Excited to see HBO join us in offering stand-alone streaming service in Scandinavia," he posted last summer. "What about the USA? We thought the first match-up would be in Albania."
To be fair, HBO scored a whopping 108 Emmy nominations this morning. Real bragging rights may come in two months when the Emmy awards are actually dished out. If Netflix wins -- and it may very well come out ahead in some of the categories where House of Cards is being considered -- there's good money to be made on Hastings hitting up Facebook again with another Albanian entry.
Then again, he did pass up the opportunity for an easy Albania comment when Netflix's streaming service nabbed more than 3 million net streaming subscribers worldwide during this year's first quarter. That's essentially the population of the small yet proud Albanian nation right there. Yes, Netflix is adding an Albania every three months!
Netflix didn't need this morning's nominations to redeem its costly gambles in paying up for magnetic exclusive content. The service has already established itself as a viable platform with a healthy pipeline of first-run programming on the way, and the healthy subscriber growth says it all. However, it's still nice to be recognized by Hollywood's tastemakers.
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