Updated from 10:04 a.m. Monday, Oct. 28, to include include comments from Comcast Cable President and CEO Comcast earnings conference call. See Page Three.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Between articles on Seeking Alpha in 2011 and TheStreet since then, I have characterized, with more than ample support, Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) as a walking contradiction. And, as my reporting throughout this article -- sourced at some of the highest levels of the television industry -- proves, you should view media reports about Netflix "talks" with cable companies with a grain of low-quality salt.
While it's been nice to be on the right side of the stock (calling 2011's implosion and the past year's incredible upside), it's been twice as nice doing the work -- on the ground -- fleshing out the story about NFLX, the company, that the rest of the media and Wall Street prefer to ignore.
A major takeaway from this ongoing process: Don't put much stock into what comes out of the mouths of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his top lieutenants. There almost always seems to be, in my opinion, more to it than they make public. And often, there very well may be ulterior motives, shrouded in strategic self-interest and preservation.For a couple weeks now, the financial and entertainment media couldn't spit out the headlines frequently enough: Could Netflix Become Part of Your Cable Package? and Netflix In Talks With Cable Companies. There was something curious about Hastings' renewed push to make Netflix part of the cord it purports to cut. But, of course, that same media refused to critically assess the situation. Brian Stelter, The New York Times media reporter, brought up Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) in an Oct. 14 article:
Comcast declined to comment ... But the company's discussions with Netflix revealed a sharp turn from just a year and a half ago, when it promoted a partial alternative to Netflix called Streampix for its customers. Back then, Comcast said it wanted to "give customers no reason to go anywhere else."
Comcast has said relatively little about Streampix since.That ended this past Friday, as the truth jumped in front of the Netflix fairy tale. Those talks Netflix was reportedly having with cable companies, according to my sources, never happened or, if on some level they did, weren't nearly as substantive or as far along as the media made them out to be in its frenzy of Netflix Could Be Coming to Cable stories (as Netflix sat back and watched). And, newsflash to The New York Times, Streampix is "back!"