Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has had a rough couple of days. Very early yesterday morning, his company was forced to apologize for telling actors to give enthusiastic interviews to the media. Last night, he himself had to personally apologize to American customers for calling them self-absorbed.
Reed was talking to a Hollywood Reporter journalist at Wednesday's Netflix Canada event when he was asked if he thought the lower Canadian pricing ($7.99) would see American customers demand a price cut for the U.S. market. Hastings said he wasn't worried, because Americans are too self-absorbed to care about Canada's pricing.
"How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world?" Reed said. "It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed."
Yikes, that probably wasn't the smartest move, Mr. Hastings. The CEO apologized for the blunder last night in a blog posting entitled "Apologies."
"My Big American Foot is in my mouth," he wrote. "Yesterday, I made an awkward joke with a reporter in Toronto about Americans (like me) being self-absorbed relative to Netflix pricing in Canada.
"I was wrong to have made the joke, and I do not believe that one of the most philanthropically-minded nations in the world (America) is self-absorbed or full of self-absorbed people."
Hastings goes on to explain that the reason Canadian pricing is lower is because the $7.99/month fee is for streaming only, and does not include a DVD-by-mail option. Netflix charges U.S. customers $8.99 for streaming and DVD-by-mail in one package. The Netflix chief attempted to further placate American users by assuring readers that the company would consider a streaming-only option for U.S. customers.