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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes free-to-air TV will be extinct by 2030

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NEW DELHI: At a time when Prasar Bharati CEO has said Doordarshan's future lies in Freedish, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said that “the age of broadcast TV will probably last until 2030.”

Speaking at a Netflix event in Mexico City, Hastings compared broadcast television to the horse and cart and said it will simply be a ‘casualty of evolution’. “It’s kind of like the horse, you know, the horse was good until we had the car,” he commented. Hastings has expressed his thoughts on the death of linear TV before, predicting in April 2013 that it would be replaced by online TV.

The current model of TV programming distribution will be broken and non-existent within the next decade and a half, he further said.

Hastings told reporters that he thinks the current system where television channels are grouped into free-to-air network television and premium cable channels is becoming obsolete.

Recent data suggests Netflix makes up more than a third of all internet traffic in North America during peak periods. That's far more than any other source, and an indication of the type of heft that the once upstart company now has in the content game.

Netflix no longer breaks out its Canadian subscriber numbers separately, but boasts more than 34 million households in the United States— comparable to the reach of many television networks.

To keep up with that growth and pay for exclusive content like Orange Is the New Black, the company recently announced a price increase of between $1 and $2 a month for new customers.

The company showed off its disruptive influence in the industry in the summer in a testy exchange between a Netflix executive and the CRTC, which was demanding that the company hand over reams of subscriber data — something the company says it has no legal obligation to do.

That exchange came as the regulator was looking into changing the rules on "bundling" cable whereby customers are forced to pay for packages of channels — as opposed to picking and choosing the ones they want.

Although Netflix is the giant of the streaming space, others exist. Earlier this year Rogers and Shaw launched Shomi, a streaming service that's meant to rival Netflix.

Ratings company, Nielsen, is going to start tracking Netflix viewing in its ratings numbers, something it hasn't done before.

Although Netflix likes to boast about the popularity of its shows, Hastings downplayed the significance of Nielsen's move because, by the company's own admission, it will not include mobile usage.

"It's not very relevant," Hastings said and added, "There's so much viewing that happens on a mobile phone or an iPad that (the new ratings]) won't capture."

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