Netflix Chief Says Both New DVD Formats Will Survive

It may be more wishful thinking than anything else, but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, whose highly successful DVD rental company has used both the Internet and snail-mail to maximum advantage to glean more than five million subscribers, thinks both Blu-ray and HD DVD will survive as next-gen formats. (Netflix had recently announced it would carry movie and TV titles in both formats.)

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hastings said, "We think Microsoft and Sony are both strong enough to create a stalemate, and the solution is for all studios to join Warner and Paramount as format-agnostic. Then the press will declare the war over, and consumers will start buying. Two formats is not a big problem for the industry--for the last 10 years, we've supported VHS and DVD just fine."

Some industry critics have labeled Hastings off base in his opinion, saying the otherwise savvy exec has failed to see that two incompatible formats are apparently confusing consumers, judging from low sales reported for either new format, thus far. And also that he ignores the fact that standard DVD managed to rather quickly destroy VHS as a marketable format.

The Netflix Web site offers standard and both next-gen DVD formats for rental; there is no mention of VHS.