Netflix: VR not compatible with binge-viewing

Top Netflix execs are not buying the clamour for virtual reality experiences.

Reed HastingsIn an interview with VentureBeat, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (pictured) said fully immersive content is not compatible with the streaming service’s binge-watching model.

With VR, “you’re exhausted after 20 minutes,” he said. “We are more focused on a lean-back, relaxing experience.”

“I can’t imagine putting on a VR headset while sitting on the couch with my wife for two hours and just disappearing,” added Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos.

Netflix also echoed a common view that quality VR content is scarce. “The problem with VR is that there’s not enough people on the platform to support the investment in that kind of content,” said Sarandos.

Hastings predicted VR would be “huge for the video game market”, but would not begin having an effect on the on-demand market “for the next couple of years”.

Netflix did create a VR app with Oculus last year, allowing subscribers to access Netflix content through Samsung Gear VR headsets in 2D format.

The likes of Facebook, YouTube and Discovery Communications are pushing heavily into VR content, but debate remains as to how useful it will prove to the video market.