Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley DreamsRead more

Photo by Getty Images

Hastings Turns Wheel Over as Streaming Market Slows

Photo: Photo by Getty Images

It’s the end of an era in streaming. Reed Hastings, co-founder of video-streaming pioneer Netflix, is stepping down as co-CEO, kicking himself upstairs to be executive chair (as he was already chair, he’s giving up more than he’s gaining). Greg Peters, chief operating officer and a 15-year veteran of Netflix, was promoted to be Ted Sarandos’ equal as co-CEO. Those two have an unenviable task. While Netflix retains its edge in streaming, growth in that area is becoming much harder to achieve generally. In the fourth quarter reported today, for instance, Netflix reported better than expected subscriber growth while revenue stagnated. In other words, Netflix’s new $6.99 a month tier that comes with ads brought in cheapskate customers but did little for the top line.

Sarandos and Peters have to navigate this environment with Hastings looking over their shoulder. Sounds a bit like Andy Jassy’s situation at Amazon, where Jeff Bezos became executive chair in 2021, although judging by social media posts, he’s leaving Jassy alone and spending a lot of time having fun. Hastings will become less visible—he won’t appear on quarterly earnings calls in future, he revealed today—but you can imagine him grabbing the wheel back if things go haywire. Just consider what happened after Hastings promoted Sarandos to be his co-CEO in mid-2020. As we outlined in this piece last year, Hastings got more involved in outside activities, particularly philanthropy. He wrote a book about Netflix’s corporate culture. Employees thought he seemed less engaged. But he quickly reengaged as Netflix’s growth slowed sharply in 2021. Most notably, he asserted his presence by declaring on an earnings call last April that Netflix planned to introduce an advertising tier, catching insiders by surprise. 

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
From left, a Google TPU, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan and Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian. Photos via Getty, Google and YouTube.
Exclusive google semiconductors
To Reduce AI Costs, Google Wants to Ditch Broadcom as Its TPU Server Chip Supplier
Google executives have extensively discussed dropping Broadcom as a supplier of artificial intelligence chips as early as 2027, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.
From left to right: Blair Effron, Robert Pruzan and David Handler. Photos by Getty; Tidal Partners.
Exclusive Finance
Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley Dreams
The San Francisco Bay Area–based bankers at Centerview Partners, the investment bank that advised Silicon Valley Bank’s owner and Credit Suisse through recent turmoil, got two doses of bad news last week.
Art by Clark Miller
Exclusive startups entertainment
MasterClass Takes a Crash Course in Frugality
MasterClass had a problem with the shoot featuring its latest star instructor, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger.
Photos via Eiso Kant (left) and YouTube/VMWare Tanzu (right)
AI Agenda startups ai
How GitHub Copilot’s Co-Creator Raised $126 Million to Compete with His Former Employer
Recent interest in artificial intelligence has focused on large-language models that aim to do everything from writing Shakespearean poetry to solving math riddles.
If AI researchers can meet Nat Friedman's Vesuvius Challenge, “It’ll be the first time we’ve read handwriting that hasn’t been seen in 2,000 years.” Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age culture ai
Nat Versus the Volcano: Can an AI Investor Solve an Ancient Mystery from the Ashes of Vesuvius?
Long before men’s daily thoughts about ancient Rome became a TikTok meme , former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman’s mind was regularly turning toward the Roman Empire.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read policy
Europe Has Figured Out How to Tame Big Tech. Can the U.S. Learn Its Tricks?
Late last month in Belgium, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) had a pressing question for Paul Tang, a Dutch politician and member of the European Parliament.