Desperate Netflix Wants to Become <I>Part</I> of the Cord

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This isn't quite new, but as is often the case with Netflix (NFLX), its executives throw random junk "out there" from time to time, going back to it as required.

These guys don't care about being consistent. In fact, Reed Hastings' gang lives and breathes contradiction: At Netflix, it's not about magic, it's about tricks.

Of course, Netflix has already cut a deal overseas to be one, on a limited scale at the moment, with Virgin Media's set-top box.

Now, at an investment conference, it "innocently" spews: We've had an open offer out to the cable guys for two years. We want to be an a la carte option on your multichannel smorgasbord.

Yes, young @Rocco_TheStreet, you have a point. What a gaggle of unbridled hacks.

So very curious. Incredibly curious actually.

Either you want to be part of the cord or you expect people to continue cutting it (they're really not in meaningful numbers). Either you are with the traditional television guys or your are against them.

If you read me, you know I don't believe in the sort of dichotomy I illustrate in the last paragraph. I only go to it to say Netflix wants to have its cake and eat it to.

In one shallow breath, Hastings and his boys tell us they're nothing like traditional television.

Netflix doesn't use a programming schedule like the "linear" crowd does. It blows entire seasons out at once. Netflix doesn't have to report viewership numbers because, unlike the traditional television types, it doesn't sell advertising. Netflix can tell us how excited the world is as it anticipates originals such as Arrested Development, but it doesn't follow up the hype with hard data to support such misleading euphoria. Not like the ultra-transparent HBO (a division of Time Warner ( TWX)), who, by the way, doesn't sell advertising either!

The media will spin Netflix's call out to the cable companies as positive. That's what they do. They find any way to continue the fairy tale. I don't quite understand why. You'll have to ask Brian Stelter and David Carr over at The New York Times. They organize sign-ups for the Netflix Cheerleading Squad's Media Division.

The media will say this is a shrewd move by the genius Hastings to maximize every possible subscriber gateway. They'll say this is how Hollywood mastermind Ted Sarandos works -- he wants Netflix side-by-side with cable just to show the 12 Americans who don't know what Netflix is how much better it is than traditional television.

I won't drone on because you won't listen to me anyway. You didn't in 2011 when I told you to get a room prior to NFLX's crash from $300 to $60.

Think about words such as saturation. Consider the number of people who share Netflix accounts (just share some keywords on Twitter). That is, one person pays and shares the log-in with others. Think about what might happen to NFLX stock if the one thing that keeps it going slows, stops or regresses -- subscriber growth.

Why do you think Hastings is blowing what little money his company has to expand internationally? They're tapped out domestically.

Why else would Reed renew his push to become part of the very system -- cable, traditional television -- he takes hypocritical and misguided shots regularly? Why would you want to become part of the cord, this backward-looking thing that people, in droves, are apparently cutting or thinking about cutting?

It's curious.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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