A Brief History of Netflix Talking Shit

Earlier today, we got yet another glimpse of Netflix's sassy side. But this is just par for the course as far as everyone's favorite combative streaming company is concerned.

A couple of years ago, a switch flipped for Netflix, setting it free to take jab after jab at its fellow internet giants. It's rare to see a company speak its mind, and even rarer that you'll actually agree with them, even if so much of it is PR posturing.

With that in mind, here's a comprehensive-ish timeline of Netflix's biggest takedowns:


September 2012 (Canada, the country)

With Netflix making its way into new frontiers, it was forced to confront the fact that, as lagging as ISPs are in the US, things can always get worse. Enter Canada, whose painfully low broadband caps its chief content officer likened to a "human rights violation:"

The problem in Canada is… they have almost third-world access to the internet. It's almost a human rights violation what they're charging for internet access in Canada.

September 2012 (Amazon)

Amazon Prime Instant Video is unquestionably Netflix's biggest streaming threat. So when CEO Reed Hastings was asked about the service in a Wall Street Journal interview, he was more than happy to throw down the gauntlet:


In the U.S., our content budget is about three times [Amazon's], and we've got about three times more content. And what our customers tell us is they want Netflix to have more content, not to have two-thirds less at a lower price. That's not that interesting a proposition for them. [Amazon has its Prime membership service] and it's really about low-cost shipping, but why is video in there? It's kind of a confusing mess.

May 2013 (BBC)

The British Broadcasting Corporation has a strict, five-year wait time before it'll offer up licensing on kid's programming. A wait time that Netflix thinks, in no uncertain terms, is total bullshit. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, had this to say

We could pay a lot of money to license that programming, and they could make more programming and make the BBC a better public service product... but I don't want to sit behind that big blackout window. It is a huge mistake—kids' brands are very short-life cycles, and I'm not willing to pay anything for those things five years later.

February 2014 (HBO)

In a world where earnings calls have a tendency to be painfully dry, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a welcome breath of delightfully belligerent fresh air. When asked by an analyst if he agreed with his HBO counterpart, Richard Plepler, about not caring if subscribers share passwords, he wasted no time mincing words:

It was an interesting comment, I suppose. So I guess Plepler, the CEO of HBO, doesn't mind me sharing his account information. So it's Plepler@HBO.com and his password is Netflix Bitch.

February 2014 (Amazon, again)

Amazon got a lot of (well-deserved) flak for its (marketing-driven, utlimately fictional) drone delivery service, Amazon Prime Air. Netflix, still high from its HBO smackdown, decided to have some fun of its own with Drone2Home, releasing the following video on YouTube:

May 2014 (Comcast)

Earlier this year, Netflix entered into an agreement with Comcast to pay for direct access to the ISP's plumbing. And while Comcast wasn't technically breaching net neutrality by forcing Netflix to cough up, the move was indicative of problems to come. So while Netflix agreed to the deal, they were not happy about it—and had no problem saying so:

Comcast would love to be the post office and you know, be a national monopoly and collect on everything, but you know, that's not the way the Internet works.

When you think about the size coming together if Comcast is able to buy Time Warner Cable they'll have right out the bat 40 percent of U.S. Internet homes and then as DSL fades and cable grows, over 50 percent of the U.S. residential access will be controlled by Comcast. Do you really want 50 percent controlled by one company?

June 2014 (Verizon)

Which brings us all the way to today, when Verizon and AT&T's Netflix users were treated to the following, delightfully cheeky alert, which Verizon was quick to dismiss as a PR stunt:

A Brief History of Netflix Talking Shit

At the very least, it's definitely a PR strategy. One we hope to continue enjoying for years and #sick #burns to come.