Honored as the Cannes Lions 2022 Entertainment Person of the Year, Ted Sarandos took to the main stage on Thursday in Netflix’s festival debut. The co-CEO answered questions about the streamer’s recent stock decline and more-is-more content approach, while sidestepping those about rumored ad deals and platform competitors.
Interviewed by New York Magazine Editor-At-Large Kara Swisher, Sarandos began by explaining Netflix’s recent trouble on Wall Street, which some have interpreted as a doomsday omen for the platform. Defending the stock decline, Sarandos said Netflix has gone through numerous phases where the “market disconnects from the core business,” but that he views each instance as an opportunity to prove the company’s “thesis." The thesis, he explains, is the understanding that the evolution of TV from linear to streaming is still in its early days, and as the percentage continues to shift from the former to latter, Netflix has nothing but room to grow.
One of the flashiest ways Netflix is growing is the introduction of a lower-priced ad-supported tier, which Sarandos said he can’t yet reveal a launch date for as Netflix is “still working on that.” The most definitive answer he provided on the timeline was, “Sooner than later.”
In Cannes, rumors have been swirling throughout the week that Netflix would be sealing the deal on partnerships for its developing ad structure. Google has been in conversations with Netflix this week, and when Jon Whitticom, chief product officer at Comcast-owned FreeWheel, was asked about Netflix’s ad offering during an Experian panel, he just said “no comment.”
Meanwhile, Netflix laid off roughly 300 employees on Thursday, Variety reported, following cuts the streamer made in May.