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Posted at 4:30 AM ET, 01/ 8/2011

CES: Netflix CEO Hastings sets eyes on global expansion

By Cecilia Kang

LAS VEGAS -- In a short time, Netflix has shaken up the way Americans and Canadians get their favorite movies and television shows. And CEO Reed Hastings said Friday he's just getting started.

The online video streaming and DVD rental service plans to go global, providing users around the world with a cheaper alternative to cable service, Hastings said.

In a conversation with Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington at the Leaders in Technology awards dinner at CES 2011, Hastings said he expects to continue leading the firm in 10 years and that, by then, Netflix will have much warmer relations with content providers.

"We will be a great force for consumers and content producers," Hastings said. "We would be best friends for content producers and best friends for consumers because of our low price and great solution."

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, the convergence of the Internet and television were on display. LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony displayed new Internet-equipped televisions with apps such as Netflix that users could click to get shows directly streamed to their TVs.

Netflix has been among the most successful online video platforms to take advantage of the convergence. But its biggest challenge has been acquiring a richer library of content to draw in viewers. In one deal after another, Netflix has won over companies such as MGM, Paramount, Lionsgate and Starz.

But some content creators have been reluctant to hand over content. They've become accustomed to fees, syndication and advertising that they get from deals with cable and telecom firms.

Paid television services such as cable and telecom providers have played down Netflix's threat. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has called Netflix a "200-pound chimp," warning that the company could face steeper fees from content producers such as Starz for their shows.

As such, public interest groups have warned that cable, satellite and telecom television service providers may want to block or slow down a competing service such as Netflix. The FCC's net neutrality rules -- for fixed wired networks into homes -- would prevent such practices. But slowing down some traffic on wireless networks would not be prohibited.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski "has done a great job in a very challenging situation in taking a little step forward," Hastings said. "Many of us wish it was possible to go further."

He said the challenge is creating rules when there have not been enough examples of harm by Internet service providers to justify strong regulation.

Hastings seems positive about the future -- and passionate about improving education at public schools, dedicating more time to supporting charter schools and other reforms.

As such, Hastings said his goal is to increase the company's stock price to $1,000 -- it is trading at about $180 a share -- so he'll have more money to put into such charities.

"I have a dream for our society, that all kids get incredible education," Hastings said.

By Cecilia Kang  | January 8, 2011; 4:30 AM ET
Categories:  CES, Online Video  
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Maybe now they can afford to buy enough DVD's so I'm not constantly looking at a "very long wait" in my cue for every movie I want to watch.

Posted by: guybrarian | January 8, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Maybe now they can afford to buy enough DVD's so I'm not constantly looking at a "very long wait" in my cue for every movie I want to watch.

Posted by: guybrarian | January 8, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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