Netflix: we spend money on movies, not on servers

In a small space of time, ISPs in the UK have had to adapt their networks to deal with video streaming.

With the launch of the iPlayer there was worry that the UK's networks wouldn't be able to handle it, but this isn't something Cockroft believes is a problem for Netflix, explaining that when it comes to the broadband providers Netflix is seen as a great advert for what the internet is for.

Netflix uk

"We have relationships with all the ISPs," said Cockroft. "We have someone who does nothing but talk to the ISPs, so when we go into a new territory like in the UK, we talk to them and get to know them and let them know what to expect.

"The ISPs like us, it drives demand to upgrade. If you have two or three people streaming in your house then they will want to upgrade so the ISPs like us as a company, as we advertise just what can be done with a broadband connection.

"We are driving more business for them, we are a killer app for broadband content."

Picking up stream

As much as we would like to believe we are in an 'always connected' society, however, it's just not the case. Walk out your door and free Wi-Fi spots are few and far between and movie streaming on 3G could well prove costly, but Cockroft doesn't see Netflix's future in offline content, believing instead that making its streaming service better is of more concern.

"There are some user cases where streaming isn't best used – like when you are on a plane with your device but it is such a small proportion of the market it's not really beneficial to pursue this.

"We would much rather make sure that our main service is the best it can be," said Cockroft.


"The biggest way people consume Netflix is on the TV, it is nice to have mobile but you don't typically watch that many hours on it.

"We first started bringing streaming to laptops and then we finally went to the Xbox and this is when it really exploded and the whole thing took off like a rocket.

"Because all of a sudden you are sitting on your couch in front of your TV and Netflix is an option and you don't have to go searching for your laptop.

"And being at the iPad at launch really helped show the iPad as a video product."

Cloud computing is one of the buzzphrases at the moment, with Apple touting its iCloud service and many more companies pushing this way of digesting content. Where it used to be that we looked for more disk space to house our own content, it's now veering towards using the web as our hard drive and our devices as conduits to this.

Buzz doesn't necessarily mean that average consumers understand what cloud computing is, however, but Cockroft doesn't think this is a problem.

"Consumers don't need to think about things in terms of the cloud. Netflix is a service which is hosted in the cloud but a consumer just needs to see it as an alternative to a DVD, to having a physical object.

"The key for consumers is without the cloud it would have taken us a longer time to launch in the UK. This way, we could get the content quicker; we didn't need to build infrastructure, hire up people, create new buildings… a few weeks of testing and we were here."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.