Netflix Co-Founder Not a Fan of 'Binge-Watching'
Don't count Netflix co-founder Mitch Lowe as a fan of "binge-watching" culture, despite the thousands who spent an entire weekend watching "House of Cards." In fact, the former COO of Redbox thinks the trend of marathon TV-watching sessions popularized by Netflix's online streaming video service doesn't work as a long-term strategy.
"I see it as a fantastic PR stunt," Lowe said Tuesday on "Squawk on the Street." "Long term I don't think this is the right way to build audience. Even from an artistic point of view, the cliffhanger is so great. You lose that long-term buildup that the weekly episodes built. You can't even talk about it at work."
Lowe does feel Netflix's commitment to original content with shows such as "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards" hits upon the right trend. But releasing all the episodes of those seasons at one time, instead of letting them trickle out like their cable television counterparts, undercuts the buzz around the shows, he said.
"You watch it and it's done and now what?" Lowe said. "As opposed to the way they release 'Breaking Bad' on AMC and you'd go into work ... and talk about what's going to happen next ... it would build the audience."
Before Netflix or on-demand streaming video, consumers with television recording systems or simple DVD box sets would adopt the same binge-watching habits, Lowe said. Netflix just gave them a newer and quicker way to get that fix, he added.
Commenting on Netflix's newsmaking deal with Comcast this week to pay for faster streaming content, Lowe called the agreement "inevitable." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Lowe said Netflix was most likely making a short-term agreement to test the market for future agreements.
"This is the perfect time to do this deal," Lowe said. "They're probably getting the cheapest price by setting this precedent. It was inevitable."
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.
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