Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer of Netflix, offered few new details on Tuesday about the performance of the streamer’s ad-supported subscription tier, which launched in early November. Speaking at UBS’s Global TMT investor conference, he did, however, address rumors that Netflix is looking to acquire rights to live sports.
“The economic models that are built around [live sports] are built around the economics of pay television, which are different than streaming,” said Sarandos. “We’re not anti-sports, we’re just pro-profits.” He added that Netflix “has not seen a profit path for renting big sports,” citing the high expenses of league rights.
Sarandos also touched on Netflix’s early steps into video games, which he said would start with developing owned properties into games—“Stranger Things” and “Nailed It” were his examples—before developing original games to later develop into films and TV. He also suggested the streamer might implement a separate subscription model for video games: “Can we better monetize gaming through the subscription model the way that we did for TV and film?” he asked.
Addressing Netflix’s ad tier, Sarandos recycled talking points that the product will grow at a “crawl, walk, run” pace. He added that Netflix is “not patting ourselves on the back too hard” over the new product, which he claimed was built from scratch in six months. “We just turned it on and it works,” Sarandos said, sidestepping any expectation for real metrics.