Is Netflix Pushing the Envelope Again?

Netflix is streaming
Netflix is streaming

Netflix has done it again, at least Wall Street was impressed Monday, as its shares climbed quickly to a 10% increase. For the year, Netflix shares are up a massive 440%. Its sales were $1.1 billion with the third quarter at 52 cents/share, above Reuters expectations. All this news gave the shares a 10% boost, immediately. CEO Reed Hastings spoke with caution but stated it was out of their control. The company leader is not comfortable with the stock escalation.

Reed Hastings was impressed with over a million new subscribers. Growth in America came close to expectations but international growth is what made for smiles. One point forty four million new customers allowed Netflix to surpass 40 million subscribers for the first time. Netflix did warn of free-trial signups in Latin America as a reason for the boost. The CEO has repeatedly said it wants Netflix to “become HBO faster than HBO can become Netflix.”

Netflix, along with other material, creates original content as well. Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black are examples with the second being their most watched program to date. Chief Ted Sarandos is actively looking for documentaries and possibly films, but they won’t do sports.

Amazon, Hulu and Redbox are competitors and so are premium channels like HBO and CBS, which continue to expand their TV stream.

Netflix and its success in DVD’s, specifically by mail became a successful business model. Could they do it again in video streaming?  Reed Hastings is the founder and still in charge after it became a publicly traded  entity. Netflix has had its share of up and down stock prices with plunges of 80% in 2011. Netflix though keeps going forward and learning new skills, such as competing by programming their own content. Netflix did earn 14 nominations with three wins at the Emmys.

Netflix has a slight edge over HBO by a million or so US subscribers. The challenge is set; how will HBO compete with Netflix? CEO Hastings is looking to Comcast and other providers of pay TV to show his movie and streaming through cble.

Netflix will add on November 1st to its stream an NBC drama Chuck and show all five seasons. A show loved by its fan-base may appeal to a wider audience even if it wasn’t previously a big hit. How about Columbo? They have seven seasons to stream; who doesn’t love Peter Faulk, the detective, as he lets the bad guys make fools of themselves? Greek is another show that went away too soon; it is a college soap with gay characters, seemingly not stereotypical yet true.

Other shows that may push Netflix further along include Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a Star Trek series whose writers later wrote Battle Star Galactia. The first 2 seasons of The Twilight Zone from the late 50s to the early 60s, created by Rod Serling. Ugly Betty  and Xena: Warrior Princess will be shown and also an old known favorite Rockford Files. This streamlining of old shows should bring repeat viewers and give newer, younger audiences a chance to view old favorites without using or pushing the envelope.

By Kim Troike



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