Netflix says sorry to 'self-absorbed' Americans

Posted by Emma Woollacott

It's not been a good week for Netflix, despite the successful launch of its streaming video service in Canada.

Yesterday, the company was forced to give a rather labored explanation of why it had hired actors for a media event in Toronto.

And today, CEO Reed Hastings has also been forced to apologise, after making a joke to reporters at the event about the company's Canadian pricing - lower than that in the US.

He suggested that Americans were 'too self-absorbed' to notice the difference, and that they weren't inclined to follow events in the outside world anyway.

Presumably, he feels Americans are somewhat thin-skinned, too, as he's now issued a groveling apology.

"My Big American Foot is in my mouth," he says on the company blog (right above his colleague Steve Swasey's apology for the company's little theatrical debacle, as it happens).

"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."

He also attempted to justify the difference in pricing between the two countries - the service costs only $7.99 per month in Canada, compared with $8.99 in the US.

But, he points out, the two services aren't equivalent, as the US version includes DVD-by-mail as well as streaming - and he added a little promise especially for those self-centered Americans.

"We are looking at adding a streaming-only option for the USA over the coming months," he says.