Netflix Is the New Francis Underwood

Netflix is pretty ruthless in its jab at Amazon.com.

Feb 26, 2014 at 12:05PM

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is a lot more like House of Cards' crafty Francis Underwood than you may think. Both have had to scheme past weaker rivals on the way to the top. Netflix and Underwood also seem to have seen their brazen ruthlessness grow as their power expands, and they're not afraid to smear the competition to retain control.

I won't spill House of Cards spoilers. That's the way Underwood has been from the start. However, there's no shame in giving away a key scene that Netflix has chosen to stage.

A Netflix-produced video skewering Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) wild dreams for drone-delivered orders has gone public, and it certainly does smack the leading e-tailer and Netflix's nearest rival when it comes to stand-alone streaming smorgasbords.

Netflix has gone on the defensive in support of the lighthearted clip after a few media reports criticized the lampooning.

"Press says we are satirizing Amazon," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted on Facebook last night, arguing that his company admires Amazon. "Our playful drone video was for an internal company meeting as fun, and it was so cute we wanted to share. I hope my Amazon Prime will include drone delivery someday!"

Hastings may be playing down the humorous clip, but there's no denying that it was made with the intention to rain satire on Jeff Bezos' company.

"Unlike other companies trying to rush unproven technology to market, we have literally spent days working out most of the bugs," the video goes in describing the fictional Drone2Home platform of drone-delivered Netflix DVDs.

Yes, Netflix is mocking Amazon's drone dream. It's not the only time that Netflix has called out a rival. Catch Netflix's latest earnings call, in which Hastings takes a shot at Time Warner.  The media giant's HBO is also a major rival to Netflix these days, and he took a jab at the premium movie channel's chief, Richard Plepler, when asked about the sharing of HBO GO passwords. He joked that Plepler's HBO GO password was "Netflix" followed by an expletive. That is so Underwood.

There's nothing wrong with a cocky CEO who takes public shots at the competition. Larry Ellison does it. Steve Jobs did it. Hastings probably isn't going to stop. As long as the stock continues cranking out market-thumping gains, there's no point in silencing him or denying him what he craves.

Hastings is Underwood, and you don't want to be a wounded dog, disgraced politico, or info-hungry blogger on a Metro platform when he's around.

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Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Amazon.com and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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