HBO who? Netflix fights back with over 60 million users, new features

netflix
Netflix, that veritable giant among video streaming services, released its first quarterly earnings report of this fiscal year on Wednesday. The takeaway? Not the numbers so much, but the company’s plans to address the many new market entrants encroaching on its market territory.

The financials were a mixed bag, on paper. Netflix posted first-quarter profits of $23 million, short of analysts’ expectations and a decline from the $53 million it earned for the same period last year. But outspoken CEO Reed Hastings was quick to blame a foreign exchange loss, pointing to a growth in revenue from $1.27 to $1.57 billion, and analysts largely agreed with that assertion.

The news enough to excite investors, as Netflix shot up 13 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday and, at time of publication, the stock was at a record high of $569 per share. That’s a rise of over $100 per share in just the last week.

Investors were primed, presumably, because of Netflix’s expansive growth. The company announced it reached over 60 million paying customers, 40 million domestic and 20 million international. Netflix is especially enthused about the 2.6 million new overseas additions; although expansion abroad can be pricier, analysts say it should dramatically boost the company’s bottom line. “We believe that international subscribers have two to three times faster profit trajectories than in the US,” said Laura Martin, an analyst for Needham, in a statement last week.

Driving growth is Netflix’s impressive commitment to original programming. It spent a little less than $300 million on original content last year, ballooning its offerings to 27 shows and series. Several have garnered critical acclaim: House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black garnered 13 and 12 Emmy nominations last year, respectively, while the new Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil is getting critical acclaim across the board, including a 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Those are accolades Netflix will undoubtedly tout as the premium streaming competition heats up. Amazon Instant Video, a longtime rival which boasts award-winning shows of its own, has also shown a willingness to spend big on TV and movies. And HBO, widely perceived as Netflix’s closest competitor despite Hastings’s protestations, launched an internet-based subscription service HBO Now earlier this month.

But Netflix has a few tricks up its sleeve. The first is a revamped TV interface set to roll out in the coming months. The second and potentially more significant is support for Secure (HTTPS) while browsing and viewing content. Of HTTPS, said Hastings and CFO David Wells, “[It] helps protect member privacy, particularly when the network is insecure, such as public Wi-Fi, and it helps protect members from eavesdropping by their ISP or employer, who may want to record our members’ viewing for other reasons.”

Those feature additions don’t come cheap. Netflix previously increased the price of its standard subscription to $8.99 from $7.99, and last October began charging a premium for 4K content — the plan costs $11.99 per month. That said, in light of the fallout from its missteps four years ago, the company is likely to approach future rate increases tepidly. And, for now at least, the future looks pretty rosy for big red.

Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Movies & TV

MoviePass returns to unlimited movies plan, but with plenty of restrictions

Troubled subscription-based movie service MoviePass is making headlines on a daily basis lately, and not in a good way. Here's a timeline of events for the company once described as Netflix for movie theaters.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Deadwood, John Wick 3, Shazam, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for John Wick: Chapter 3, Deadwood, Shazam!, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Cold War, Shoplifters, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Cold War follows a tragic romance, The Inventor examines a famous fraud case, and more.
Movies & TV

Apple teases Monday’s big event with an early look into Steve Jobs Theater

Apple is gearing up for a big event on Monday where it's expected to unveil a video-streaming service. But more than 12 hours before it starts, the company has apparently already cranked up the event's livestream ...
Home Theater

TCL drops the price of its 75-inch 6-Series 4K Roku TV to $1,500

March is a great time for TV deals, and we've got a whopper: TCL has taken $300 off the price of its superb 75-inch 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV, making it $1,500. That's the lowest price ever on this affordable TV.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is minutes away: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.
Apple

Apple March 2019 Event Coverage

Apple’s next event will take place March 25 at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California at 10 a.m. PT. We’ve got a handy guide on how to watch, but don’t expect to see any new iPads, iMacs, or AirPods at the show, all of…
Apple

Apple’s Netflix competitor Apple TV Plus headlines a barrage of new services

Apple's It's Show Time event in Cupertino, California, is officially over, with the tech giant announcing a new video-streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon, a new way to subscribe to paid news outlets, and more.
Computing

DisplayPort and HDMI both connect to screens, but here's how they're different

HDMI and DisplayPort are two of the most popular connectors for hooking up consoles, gaming PCs, TVs, and monitors, but which is best? To find out, we pitted HDMI vs. DisplayPort and compared their best and worst features.
Home Theater

Apple’s new TV app: All of your shows, on (almost) every device you own

Apple is updating its TV App into a truly cross-platform one-stop shop for all of your movies and TV shows. It will appear on smart TVs and devices from Roku and Amazon, but there are still questions about features and price.
Home Theater

All of the TVs and devices getting Apple’s AirPlay 2 and Apple TV in 2019

Apple is done keeping its AirPlay wireless streaming technology to itself. These are all of the TVs and devices that will get AirPlay 2, and the new TV App, in 2019. The list is growing, so check back regularly.