Reed Hastings Steps Down as Netflix Co-CEO

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Netflix logo on a TV with red LED backlight behind TV
Photo by Thibault Penin on Unsplash

Netflix’s earnings report contained a few surprises this fourth quarter, including the news that its founder and leader for 25 years Reed Hastings would step down.

The company also managed to subvert analysts’ expectations by adding a hefty chunk of subscribers in its fourth quarter – causing the stock to tick up over 7% in after-hours trading. Netflix called 2022 a “tough year, with a bumpy start but a brighter finish,” and claimed that it had a “clear path to reaccelerate our revenue growth” as well as “building even greater profitability over time.”

Part of that profitability will come as the streaming service opens itself up to more users with more flexible pricing plans. Earlier this year Netflix announced it would offer a new subscription model that was cheaper, but supplemented by ads. The company launched that offering in November. People were skeptical at first about this new tier (after all, for most of its existence Netflix prided itself on not having ads), but it seems to be paying off, since Netflix gained a sizable chunk of subscribers this month – thanks to big hits like the Addams Family reboot “Wednesday,” “Stranger Things 4,” and Rian Johnson’s film “Glass Onion.”

The third quarter balance sheet was strong. Netflix posted revenue of $7.9 million for the fourth quarter, up 2% from this time last year. Annually, Netflix posted revenue of $32 billion, with about $4.5 billion left over in net income after expenses, compared to about $5 billion last year.

That said, Netflix holders have seen a slight dip in performance in the last year, with cumulative returns down 51%. Still, within the last five years the stock’s return is up 54%, and according to Bloomberg’s Dec. 31 figures, Netflix’s stock has generated a return of 2,129% in the last decade.

Here are a few big takeaways from today’s earnings, and what we have our eye on for Netflix’s upcoming fiscal year.

Hastings says goodbye

Reed Hastings, who co-founded Netflix in 1997, announced today he’d step down from his role as co-CEO. Netflix has operated with this co-CEO model for a while now; previously Hastings held the job alongside co-CEO Ted Sarandos. But now Hastings will cede his position to Greg Peters, the company’s former chief operating officer.

Hastings will still remain involved with the company as chairman of the board. He noted in a blog post Thursday that the reshuffle is basically a formalization of what’s already been happening inside the company’s C-suite, and said that he’s “increasingly delegated the management of Netflix” to Peters and Sarandos over the last two and a half years anyway.

Subscribers are up, surprisingly

The streaming service added roughly 7.7 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2022. This exceeded the company’s expectations, Netflix previously said it assumed it’d add only about 4.5 million new subscribers this quarter. To date, Netflix has 231 million paid subscribers globally, and its previous target was 227.6 million.

All eyes were on Netflix’s new ad-supported tier, which debuted for $6.99/month in November as part of a venture with Microsoft. While Netflix didn’t specify exactly how many of these new subscribers were paying for that specific plan, it’s pretty clear, based on the number of new subscribers, that the venture is paying off. Especially as streaming services across the board are getting more expensive.

Peters said during an earnings interview Thursday that engagement with the ad-supported plans is roughly on par with its more expensive counterpart. Netflix’s chief financial officer Spencer Neumann said he estimates about half of competitor Hulu’s subscriber base is on a similar ad tier, and said he expects Netflix’s ad business to be just as large as Hulu’s “within several years.”

Netflix also said customer and advertiser engagement with the ad-supported plan is better than expected, though it did say it aims to improve how it targets and measures those customers.

Overall, Netflix said the reaction from subscribers to the cheaper plan confirmed that it is not only a worthy offering but also has a shot at generating the same revenue, if not more, than its ad-free tier. Keep an eye on how Netflix reports growth this year, and if it will indeed offer more options for ad-based plans.

Unusually, Netflix declined to share specifics about its other developing business: gaming. In just over a year, the company pushed out 50 games, and said it plans to offer more games based on hit Netflix shows in the coming year.

Password sharing is still a bother

Finally, Netflix knows you’re still using your grandma’s password to watch “Wednesday,” and it’s getting fed up.

We’ve discussed the streamer’s ambitions to crack down on password sharing, and that came up during today’s earnings report. Netflix said it estimates 100 million households, if not more, share accounts, which it claims “undermines” its ability to make the service better.

To combat this, Netflix announced it will soon roll out paid sharing, a plan that would allow users to give permission to family and friends to join their plan even if they’re not part of the same household. It’s unclear how much this plan might cost, but Netflix said it will soon let users review which devices are using the app and transfer profiles to different accounts. It’ll also soon give users the option to pay extra to share the service with people they don’t live with – though that’s definitely happening already, and it’s unclear exactly how the company will prevent people from mooching.

Netflix also noted this move might tick off some account borrowers who might stop watching because they don’t want to pay for an account, and warned “near-term engagement” could suffer. But it claimed that its “great slate of programming” will continue to reel in more people than it loses. We shall see about that.

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Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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How Token and Tixr Plan To Take on Ticketmaster in L.A.
Evan Xie

When Taylor Swift announced her ‘Eras’ tour back in November, all hell broke loose.

Hundreds of thousands of dedicated Swifties — many of whom were verified for the presale — were disappointed when Ticketmaster failed to secure them tickets, or even allow them to peruse ticketing options.

But the Taylor Swift fiasco is just one of the latest in a long line of complaints against the ticketing behemoth. Ticketmaster has dominated the event and concert space since its merger with Live Nation in 2010 with very few challengers — until now.

Adam Jones, founder and CEO of Token, a fan-first commerce platform for events, said he has the platform and the tech ready to take it on. With Token, Jones is creating a system where there are no queues. In other words, fans know immediately which events are sold out and where.

“We come in very fortunate to have a modern, scalable tech stack that's not going to have all these outages or things being down,” Jones said. “That's step one. The other thing is we’re being aggressively transparent about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. So with the Taylor Swift thing…you would know in real time if you actually have a chance of getting the tickets.”

Here’s how it works: Users register for Token’s app and then purchase tickets to either an in-person event, or an event in the metaverse through Animal Concerts. The purchased ticket automatically shows up in the form of a mintable NFT, which can then be used toward merchandise purchases, other ticketed events or, Adams’s hope for the future — external rewards like airline travel. The more active a user is on the site, the more valuable their NFT becomes.

Ticketmaster has dominated the music industry for so long because of its association with big name artists. To compete, Token is working on gaining access to their own slew of popular artists. They recently entered into a partnership with Animal Concerts, a live and non-live event experiences platform that houses artists like Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Robin Thicke.

“You'll see they do all the metaverse side of the house,” Jones said. “And we're going to be the [real-life] web3 sides of the house.”

In addition, Token prides itself on working with the artists selling on their platform to set up the best system for their fanbase, devoid of hefty prices and additional fees — something Ticketmaster users have often complained about. Jones believes where Ticketmaster fails, Token thrives. The app incentivizes users to share more data about their interests, venues and artists by operating on a kind of points system in the form of mintable NFTs.

“We can actually take the dataset and say there’s 100 million people in the globe that love Taylor Swift, so imagine she’s going on tour and we ask [the user], ‘Would you go to see her in Detroit?’ And imagine this place has 30,000 seats, but 100,000 people clicked ‘yes,’” he explained. “So you can actually inform the user before anything even happens, right? About what their options are and where to get it.”

Tixr, a Santa-Monica based ticketing app, was founded on the idea that modern ticketing platforms were “living in the legacy of the past.” They plan to attract users by offering them exclusive access to ticketed events that aren’t in Ticketmaster’s registry.

“It melts commerce that's beyond ticketing…to allow fans to experience and purchase things that don't necessarily have to do with tickets,” said Tixr CEO and Founder Robert Davari. “So merchandise, and experiences, and hospitality and stuff like that are all elegantly melded into this one, content driven interface.”

Tixr sells tickets to exclusive concerts like a Tyga performance at a night club in Arizona, general in-person festivals like ComplexCon, and partners with local vendors like The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to sell tickets to the races. Plus, Davari said it’s equipped to handle high-demand, so customers aren’t spending hours waiting in digital queues.

Like Token, Tixr has also found success with a rewards program — in the form of fan marketing.

“There's nothing more powerful in the core of any event, brand, any live entertainment, [than] the community behind it,” Davari said. “So we build technology to empower those fans and to reward them for bringing their friends and spreading the word.”

Basically, if a user gets a friend to purchase tickets to an event, then the original user gets rewarded in the form of discounts or upgrades.

Coupled with their platforms’ ability to handle high-demand events, both Jones and Davari believe their platforms have what it takes to take on Ticketmaster. Expansion into the metaverse, they think, will also help even the playing field.

“So imagine you can't go to Taylor Swift,” Jones said. “What if you could purchase an exclusive to actually go to that exact same show over the metaverse? An artist’s whole world can expand past the stage itself.”

With the way ticketing for events works now, obviously not everyone always gets the exact price, venue or date they want. There are “winners and losers.” Jones’s hope is that by expanding beyond in-person events, there can be more winners.

“If there’s 100,000 people who want to go to one show and there's 37,000 seats, 70,000 are out,” he said. “You can't fight that. But what we can do is start to give them other opportunities to do things in a different way and actually still participate.”

Jones and Davari both teased that their platforms have some exciting developments in the works, but for now both Token and Tixr are set on making their own space within the industry.

“We simply want to advance this industry and make it more efficient and more pleasurable for fans to buy,” Davari said. “That's it.”