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Netflix CEO: We have bigger competition than Amazon

Cheer up, Netflix investors.

Despite a first-quarter earnings report that sent its stock tumbling, and the emergence of Amazon as a much more direct rival, streaming video giant Netflix said that opportunity in streaming video remains huge. In an earnings report that beat expectations but was light on guidance — causing the stock to drop more than 10 percent after hours — Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company has "lots of opportunity ahead to win more of [consumers'] evenings."

"If you think about your last 30 days, and analyze the evenings you did not watch Netflix, you can understand how broad our competition really is," Hastings wrote in the earnings release. That competition includes video games, web surfing, YouTube, physical media and any other form of leisure activity.

"You can see the market for relaxation time and disposable income is huge, and we are but a small boat in a vast sea," Hastings said in the letter to shareholders after the earnings report.

Here's Hastings' full quote from the report:

If you think about your last 30 days, and analyze the evenings you did not watch Netflix, you can understand how broad our competition really is. Whether you played video games, surfed the web, watched a DVD, TVOD, or linear TV, wandered through YouTube, read a book, streamed Hulu or Amazon, or pirated content (hopefully not), you can see the market for relaxation time and disposable income is huge, and we are but a little boat in a vast sea. For example, while we've grown from zero to 47 million members in the USA, HBO has also grown, which shows how large the entertainment market is. We earn a tiny fraction of consumers' time and money, and have lots of opportunity ahead to win more of your evenings away from all those other activities if we can keep improving.


Not everyone agreed.

Jonathan Rettinger, president of TechnoBuffalo, told CNBC after the earnings announcement: "Netflix has a lot to worry about over the next few months."

"Netflix has had an incredible rise, but they need to be looking over their shoulder because there is an onslaught coming led by Amazon," he said.