Netflix chief Reed Hastings shouldn’t expect a holiday card from Barry McCarthy this year. The video-streaming giant likely spoiled the Peloton CEO’s Christmas this year with its announcement on Wednesday that it plans to start streaming fitness content from Nike on Dec. 30. Nike doesn’t offer everything that’s on Peloton—particularly when it comes to bikes, Peloton’s specialty. Even so, the Netflix-Nike combo is likely to eat into demand for Peloton’s classes. Little wonder Peloton stock dropped nearly 7% today.
What makes this doubly irritating for McCarthy, we’d bet, is that he was Hastings’ lieutenant for 11 years as Netflix chief financial officer. McCarthy loves to talk about what his experience at Netflix (and his subsequent job at Spotify) taught him about the subscription business. Of course, expanding Peloton’s subscription-based service is central to his turnaround plan for the company. Its subscriptions now offer fitness classes via video, although McCarthy mused at a recent investment conference that Peloton could diversify with programming made by others—even perhaps a broader range of content such as movies. That kind of broad-ranging ambition may have caught Hastings’ attention.