BARCELONA, Spain — Netflix has emphatically denied reports that it is considering launching at a pay-as-you-go service in the UK.
At a media briefing at the Mobile World Congress technology conference in Barcelona, Spain, Netflix executive Todd Yellin told Business Insider that it was an “unfounded rumour” and “not true.”
On February 27, The Telegraph’s Christopher Williams reported that the video streaming company is in “ongoing and detailed discussions about ways to charge mobile customers” to stream or download individual pieces of video content.
The report, based on “senior sources,” said that carriers would charge the fees, and take a cut of the profits.
Yellin, however, said he was strongly opposed to the idea, and that Netflix is not considering it: “Netflix is an all-you-can-eat subscription service, that’s what we pride ourselves on, that model. So the individual things, that’s an unfounded rumour … no, no it’s not true.”
(An unnamed Netflix spokesperson also denied the report to The Telegraph.)
Yellin did, however, hedge on whether Netflix has ever been approached by internet service providers [ISPs] on the idea — while re-iterating his opposition to such a model.
“We’re approached by everyone and every idea, I get more emails than you can imagine. I consumer tested that [idea]: consumers don’t want Netflix to be muddied,” he said. “I remember, in the US I went to St. Louis in New Jersey five years ago, putting up a prototype of ‘what if you can also buy some of this other content’. Consumers hate it because when they go to Netflix they want all-you-can-eat.”
On Tuesday, YouTube announced a paid TV service and potential Netflix competitor, YouTube TV. It will charge $US35 a month for the US internet streaming service, which offers access to CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox — as well as YouTube’s other content.
When asked if Netflix considered YouTube TV a threat, Yellin claimed he didn’t even know what it was because he was sleeping due to jet lag when it was announced, before shrugging it off: “We look at it like, internet TV is going to explode, we’re just surprised it took as long as it did. It raises up everyone and it’s a growing market, and we just want to be a big part of a growing market.”
Yellin was answering press questions on Wednesday following a media briefing to discuss Netflix’s latest announcement: the use of artificial intelligence to reduce the file size of videos and improve picture quality. By selectively cutting down data on technically simpler frames, the project can cut the bit-rate required by 50%, the executive said — radically improving picture quality for people on slower connections.
The technology has yet to officially launch, but is due to roll out to viewers on mobile devices in the coming few months.
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