I’ll admit that I was pretty taken aback earlier this month when I read the delusional ramblings of NBCUniversal president of research and media development Alan Wurtzel, who claimed that Netflix wasn’t a threat to his network in part because linear network TV was “watching TV the way that God intended.” It turns out that Netflix was just as amused by this as I was, as it positively torched Wurtzel’s take on the future of television in a letter to shareholders this week.
“An NBC executive recently said Internet TV is overblown and that linear TV is ‘TV like God intended,'” Netflix wrote (PDF). “Our investors are not as sure of God’s intentions for TV, and instead think that Internet TV is a fundamentally better entertainment experience that will gain share for many years.”
Of course, I think Netflix is absolutely right. I only watch linear network TV at this point for live sports and nothing else. Even with network TV shows that I like such as Fox’s Gotham and the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I simply watch them on Hulu at my own convenience rather than live.
Just look at Netflix’s subscriber numbers: It now has 75 million subscribers across 190 countries and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. It’s going to spend an astonishing $6 billion on new content this year and most of it will be vastly better than the dreck that NBC is showing in primetime these days.
NBC can continue to ignore this reality and hope that people will continue tuning in to stinkers like Truth Be Told while Netflix users will grow tired of binge watching Jessica Jones and Making a Muderer, but it will obviously do so at its own peril.