17-10-2016, 11:05 #1
[EN] Netflix Isn’t Headed Toward a Happy Ending
Netflix is contending with a slowdown in net subscriber growth, rising churn and higher competition ahead of Monday’s third-quarter earnings report
Oct. 16, 2016
“We apologize for the volatility.”
Corporate executives usually don’t utter those words. Yet that is how Netflix Inc. boss Reed Hastings closed his earnings call in July, a nod to the sharp moves that have buffeted the streaming service’s share price.
Netflix’s shares remain down by more than 10% this year. Some of that is a giveback from last year’s gains when the stock more than doubled and was the S&P 500’s top performer. Mr. Hastings described that rally as “a mystery to me.”
Many observers are in the same boat. Netflix’s shares have swung up or down by at least 10% in 10 of its 13 years as a public company, including five annual gains of more than 100% each. Those sharp gains, along with a still nosebleed earnings multiple and a marked slowdown in its key market, raise concerns about whether it needs to pull back more. Monday’s earnings report isn’t likely to allay them.
Analysts polled by FactSet estimate third-quarter earnings of 6 cents a share, down a penny from a year ago. Revenue is expected to have increased 32% to $2.3 billion. But the key numbers to watch are subscriber growth and so-called churn rates—the number of people canceling the service. Neither is moving in Netflix’s favor.
After launching in over 130 countries in January, Netflix’s global expansion has yielded lumpy results. Perhaps more importantly, its U.S. subscriber growth has disappointed recently. During the second quarter, Netflix added a surprisingly low 160,000 net domestic subscribers, well below its prior forecast of 500,000. It estimates 300,000 net U.S. subscriber additions in the third quarter.
With 47.1 million overall U.S. subscribers, Netflix remains far from its long-term goal of 60 million to 90 million. Some analysts believe that target might no longer be achievable, particularly as prices rise and competition picks up from Amazon.com Inc., Hulu and others. In July, Mr. Hastings said price increases for existing subscribers led to higher service cancellations.
Netflix now faces slower growth and more competition. And in an environment of rising prices prompting higher-than-expected churn, the stock’s rich valuation of over 100 times projected earnings looks particularly unappealing.
Don’t binge on this stock.
17-10-2016, 11:12 #2
VPNs designed to allow uses to watch Netflix from different regions are giving upHi everyone,
As of today we are going to stop supporting Netflix as an unblocked channel. Unfortunately every time we set up a new network or find a workaround it is getting blocked within hours. Over the last 7 months we have put in a great amount of time, money and energy into keeping Netflix unblocked. We have usually been up and running within a couple of hours of each ban. However, this has greatly drained our resources and our time.
We have always made sure to have at least 2 spare networks ready for when a ban happened, which was extremely expensive but gave us the best channel uptime. In recent weeks the bans have steadily progressed, sometimes to multiple times per day. It simply is not viable to keep supporting a channel like that.
Now, in light of this news we have added Amazon Instant Video (Prime) as an unblocked channel. They have a great range of content and should help fill the gap. Our other channels are also working so please take advantage of them.
Should Netflix one day decide to turn it back a notch, we will resume unblocking their service.
We will be sending out a mass e-mail tonight to inform all of our customers.
17-10-2016, 13:56 #3
Southeast Asia: As Netflix moves in, local video streaming platforms fight back
While Netflix costs $7 to $10 per month, Hooq or iFlix only cost $2 to $3 each.
October 17, 2016
Southeast Asia has been hailed as the next big market for video streaming startups, with local telcos joining forces with big name studios to deliver both Hollywood and local content to the masses. Can the US streaming sensation Netflix, which officially launched in the region in January, now compete with these more affordable local rivals?
Competing with local streaming services
Choosing something to watch on television used to be a fairly straightforward task: you looked at the selection of DVDs available on your shelf and picked one. Today, choosing something to watch could take almost as long as watching the actual film or TV drama – streaming services mean that anyone could have hundreds and thousands of titles at their fingertips, anytime, anywhere.
When it comes to the worldwide video streaming pond, American entertainment streaming conglomerate Netflix is the big fish. Southeast Asians were hearing about Netflix’s original productions – from House of Cards to Chef’s Table – even before they could officially access the service’s offerings – without the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access geo-locked content, that is.
Then Netflix took a big leap forward and in January launched globally, gliding into the market in 130 countries all at once. Suddenly, millions of people in the region could watch Orange is the New Black on their iPads and TV screens.
Its introduction to Southeast Asia saw the business soon competing with a plethora of local streaming services for a tantalising piece of the pie: it has been reported that annual video streaming subscriptions in the region could hit $200 million by 2021.
It was a brave move, even for a company of its size. Hooq and iFlix, launched in mid-2015, are both dominant in the Southeast Asian region. It is not hard to imagine why: both streaming services offer an even mix of local and Hollywood content, and come in far cheaper than their US-based counterpart. While Netflix costs $7 to $10 per month, Hooq or iFlix only cost $2 to $3 each. Subscriptions to Netflix can also only be processed via credit card, thus further reducing the pool of potential customers in a region where credit card penetration rates can be low.
Jessica Lee, vice-president of communications for Netflix in Asia, acknowledges the limitations of credit card-only transactions and told Focus Asean that this issue will be “one of the ways we keep improving and finding ways to meet the needs of these emerging markets as the service matures over the long term”.
The company does not share its subscriber figures, but says it added six million subscribers across the world following its launch in the first quarter of 2016. The second quarter saw another 1.7 million subscribers sign on.
Netflix is offered only in English in Southeast Asia, but Lee says there are plans to localise the service, from the user interface to the dubbing or subtitling of content. But these things take time.
“If you can imagine, our library has thousands and thousands of titles. It needs time to get to a critical mass. If not, if you launch a local service and [a subscriber] goes in there, and out of every ten films [they] choose only two have subtitles, people will not be satisfied with that,” Lee explained.
On top of providing local languages, the company is also investing in providing more local content, or at least content produced within the region. Among Netflix’s upcoming highlights from Southeast Asia is First They Killed My Father, a film directed by Hollywood darling Angelina Jolie that is based on the memoir of a Cambodian human rights activist who survived the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime between 1975-79.
“This is all part of building that local platform, that local shows can come on,” said Lee. “We’re trying to bring the service closer to Singaporeans, or Malaysians, or anyone in the region.”
But are local programmes really Netflix’s biggest draw? Lee doesn’t think so. “People don’t pay $10 a month for us to localise,” she said. “They want to see some local content, but they actually pay that for our original – I would call it our ‘blockbuster’ – content.”
The ubiquity of Netflix
Even before Netflix arrived in Southeast Asia, people were trying to access its content using VPNs. In highly connected cities where reviews and articles from the US are readily available, Southeast Asians hankered after Netflix original content long before the company launched globally. Now, Netflix originals like Stranger Things, Bloodlines and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are available globally, precluding the need for VPNs or surreptitious bittorrents.
Some of this original content might be racier, or more violent, than Southeast Asian media regulators might be comfortable with. Netflix met a roadblock in Indonesia, where it was blocked by the country’s largest internet service provider after concerns were raised over explicit content.
But regulators have admitted that streaming services like Netflix create a conundrum for them, as legislation has not yet been updated to reflect such offerings. For instance, Indonesia’s law on film censorship refers to the content that has been imported into the country – which Netflix is not doing.
“Honestly, we are confused. Those movies are broadcast in Indonesia by a foreign company using servers located in foreign countries. Common movie media such as celluloid, CDs and DVDs are clear enough, but Netflix is not,” Ahmad Yani Basuki, chairman of Indonesia’s Movie Censorship Agency, told thejakartapost.com in May.
In Singapore, the Media Development Agency issued a circular in July saying that R21 content would be allowed as long as the services provided baseline safeguards such as age verification measures, access controls and age ratings to advise consumers.
Bringing video content to so many consumers at once is a mammoth task. Southeast Asia, with its range in internet reliability and speed, brings its own set of challenges.
This is where Netflix’s background as a technology company comes in. It has developed its own content delivery network, known as Open Connect, which helps local telco companies save on bandwidth. Open Connect Appliances also cache Netflix content on servers in more than 1,000 locations around the world. When Southeast Asian viewers select a show on Netflix, they are not trying to download it off a server located hundreds of thousands of kilometres away in Netflix’s US home base; they are loading it off an Open Connect Appliance comfortably housed in Singapore.
But having a nearby server is not always enough when you are on the go, particularly in countries where data connectivity on mobile is not always the fastest. So Netflix also offers adaptive streaming, which not only gives users the choice of what bit-rate they would like to stream at, but can also automatically adjust the streaming quality as it detects the strength of the connection.
It’s an impressive marriage of technology and creative content, one that Netflix hopes will be able to convince Southeast Asians to pay for instead of cheaper competitors. But Lee is confident that when it comes down to the crunch, their vast variety of global content will hook people in:“We’re going to go into 600 hours of original programming, up from 450 hours in 2015,” she said. “We’re really changing entertainment.”
17-10-2016, 14:02 #4
Hulu: $5.99/month for one yearOct. 17, 2016
Hulu is offering a 25% discount on 12-months of its streaming service. Currently, you can grab full access to its library of TV shows, movies and other content for $5.99 per month. Today’s deal is only available on Hulu’s standard subscription plan that includes limited commercials. This offer is good for 12 months but you can cancel at anytime. Note: only available for new customers.
Hulu is available on nearly every platform including iOS/Android, Mac/PC, streaming media players, gaming consoles and smart TVs.
17-10-2016, 14:14 #5
APAC: The Case for VOD and OTT in Regional Pay-TV Provider Portfolios
Television has been transformed by the internet. As more content is delivered online, the line between linear television, video on demand, or VOD, and over the top content, or OTT, continues to blur.
For viewers, it is a win-win situation as they can increasingly watch the content they love on their own terms — on the screen of their choice. For pay-TV providers, the explosive growth of OTT and VOD creates both opportunities and challenges. On the one hand, they have a variety of new channels and content to distribute to ever more screens. But on the other, they have to retain customers in an increasingly fragmented market.
The picture is particularly complex in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for half of global TV households, yet less than 20 percent of pay-TV revenues. Pay-TV penetration is generally below the global average and revenues per subscriber are lower than in other regions too. The region's OTT video industry is developing rapidly but from a small base, with just 100 million people subscribing to online video services in 2015.
MTM, a research and strategy consultancy, observes that the Asia-Pacific region is also highly fragmented, with significant differences in wealth, demographics, geography, broadband and pay-TV penetration, plus content preferences.
Advanced Asia, defined as wealthier and more technologically-advanced economies such as South Korea and Singapore, has more developed pay-TV industry and higher penetration of broadband than emerging Asia, where countries are less wealthy or technologically less advanced, but often faster-growing.
With more opportunities in advanced Asia, the sub-region tends to attract more business model disruption and disruptive new entrants. Pay-TV industry executives say the creation of new, customer-facing products and services is becoming a priority for the pay-TV industry in Asia Pacific.
The majority of pay-TV service providers are evolving their core pay-TV offering and moving into OTT services by providing both standalone OTT and TV Everywhere services:
• Next-generation set-top box functionalities are much more widely deployed in advanced Asia – for example, third-party applications on set-top boxes are offered by 60 percent of pay-TV service providers in advanced Asia, and 14 percent in emerging Asia. Additionally, 4K is offered by almost 50 percent of service providers in advanced Asia compared to 6 percent in emerging Asia.
• TV Everywhere services are widespread across the region, with 80 percent of pay-TV service providers in advanced Asia offering these services compared to 53 percent in emerging Asia.
• Standalone OTT services are less widely available, with 30 percent of pay-TV service providers in advanced Asia having launched these services compared to 22 percent in emerging Asia.
• Thirty percent of pay-TV service providers in advanced Asia also offer products and services in adjacent business areas, such as business-to-business services — e.g. advanced advertising and technology white-labeling — and Internet of Things solutions, compared to only 3 percent in emerging Asia.
Although OTT-only services bring significant value to users, providers need to ensure their delivery is scalable and cost effective. Today OTT packages are broadly an entry-level play to draw in subscribers that would not have otherwise signed up to pay-TV.
But not all providers currently have the scale to provide a pure OTT play so this is a trend that seems reserved for the larger players. However, smaller service providers can achieve similar advantages by deploying an all-inclusive, cloud-based TV Everywhere model.
But by switching on OTT, are operators likely to consider switching off broadcast? Not at all. Or at least not for a very long time. There are still a huge number of channels with time-sensitive programming and live events, and they are retaining a solid share of their audiences. However, there are some "mid-to-long tail" channels that would be more profitable if delivered as OTT.
This is because, thanks to two-way connectivity, providers have a better idea who is watching. This gives operators the opportunity to sell advertising at a higher rate than over broadcast where there is less viewer information available. OTT also helps providers optimize channel delivery costs and enables on-demand delivery of specialty content.
Overall, the figures show that OTT, alongside VOD, is becoming the new industry standard as pay-TV providers adapt to new customer expectations. With internet video traffic set to reach 80 percent of all consumer traffic by 2019, it would take one person over five million years to watch all the video crossing IP networks every month.
This intriguing statistic helps explain why more pay-TV operators have started offering OTT and VOD services — and why it also makes sense for them to converge multiple content sources into one place.
With more content available today from a wider range of sources, the viewer gets more choice, convenience and control. And by adopting key trends such as OTT and VOD, pay-TV providers are winning too as they can deliver more value at a lower cost to their subscribers.
With the shift to internet delivery, providers have the opportunity to better segment the market, build their user base, reach to a new set of advertisers and offer their customers a more diverse service than ever before.
Jean-Luc Jezouin is senior vice president and regional general manager for Asia Pacific at pay-TV solutions provider Nagra.
18-10-2016, 10:04 #6
Netflix no longer eyeing China
Netflix’s new, brilliant strategy for China is to stay the hell out of the country
Oct. 18, 2016
Netflix is saying zaijian to China, before it even got a foot in the door.
In a letter (.pdf) issued alongside its quarterly earnings report, the company told shareholders it was no longer attempting to bring its video streaming service to China, a shift from hints it made about entering the country in mid-2015.
The regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China has become challenging. We now plan to license content to existing online service providers in China rather than operate our own service in China in the near term…We expect revenue from this licensing will be modest. We still have a long term desire to serve the Chinese people directly, and hope to launch our service in China eventually.
Signs of Netflix’s interest in China first surfaced in May 2015, when the company was in reportedly in talks to form a partnership with Wasu Media, a Chinese holding company backed by Alibaba’s Jack Ma. China’s hundreds of million internet users are the world’s largest online audience, making the market irresistible to Western entertainment and media companies in recent years.
In the past year, however, regulatory burdens on streaming media in China have increased. Rules restricting what types of content can be shown in China have broadened, as authorities have placed a nominal ban on subjects ranging from homosexuality to witchcraft.
At least three foreign companies have launched media streaming sits in China, only to be thwarted. In April, Disney’s streaming video partnership with Alibaba was shut down by authorities just five months after it went live. That same month, Apple’s iTunes movie store also went offline. And in June, UK-based video streamer Mubi, which screens independent films on the web, terminated plans to form a $50 million venture with Chinese film distributor Huanxi.
Less than two weeks ago, at an event held by the New Yorker, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings candidly remarked that this climate makes it difficult to enter China. “Disney, who is very good in China, had their movie service shut down. Apple, who is very good in China, had their movie service closed down. It doesn’t look good,” he said.
Licensing content to “existing online service providers” means Netflix could sell China’s domestic video streaming sites the rights to broadcast series that Netflix owns. For example, Netflix could charge iQiyi, the video streaming site affiliated with search giant Baidu, the rights to show Stranger Things to a Chinese audience. Local companies would likely shoulder the burdens of complying with rules set by China’s capricious media censors.
Netflix isn’t just dodging regulatory headaches by staying out of China.
The video streaming industry there is already fiercely competitive. Internet giants like Tencent and LeEco, in addition to Baidu, each have Youtube-esque portals that offer a mixture of professionally-produced (often Hollywood-made) movies alongside amateur videos, through both free and subscription tiers. Moreover, they’re all engaged in a vicious money-burning war as they compete for more users. Netflix would likely have to re-consider its fixed subscription model and broaden its library to stand out.
The video streamer’s retreat from China places it alongside Twitter in the relatively short list of major consumer Internet companies to write off China early on. Given the mixed results companies like eBay, Google, and Uber had in China, expect that list to grow longer in the future.
18-10-2016, 10:24 #7
Pois é. As empresas Internet americanas sempre esperam que povos com suas próprias culturas, idiomas, valores, tradições, história as recebam de portas abertas, leis locais sejam alteradas em seus beneficios, poderão descumprir leis e ordens judiciais, concorrentes locais aceitarão passivamente a chegada e cederão audiências sem reação, governos irão comemorar sorrindo os impostos que elas deixarão de pagar e os empregos que irão eliminar. De vez em quando descobrem que nem todo país é igual ao Brasil.
18-10-2016, 15:54 #8
Amazon, Netflix Programming Budget is More than CBS, HBO, and Turner
An examination of the annual Netflix programming budget reveals it spent more on developing TV content in 2015 than CBS, HBO and Turner, as well as most nations, including Australia and South Korea, IHS Technology highlights in new market research. The same can be said for Amazon.
The market data provides a clear indication of just how significant OTT film and TV service providers have become amidst rapid evolution in the respective television and film industry and market landscapes.
Amazon, Netflix Programming Budget
Netflix and Amazon more than doubled the capital they invested in developing original TV programming annually between 2013 and 2015, according to IHS Technology’s forthcoming ¨World TV Production Report 2016.¨ Amazon’s jumped from $1.22 billion to $2.67 billion, while Netflix’s rose from $2.38 billion to $4.91 billion.
“The levels of investment we are seeing from Netflix and Amazon are only topped by Disney ($11.84 billion) and NBC ($10.27 billion),” IHS Technology Senior Principal Analyst Jim Westcott was quoted in a press release.
Other OTT Internet TV service providers are doing likewise. That includes Hulu in the U.S., as well as China’s Youku Toudu, iQifi and Tencent, the market research company points out.
The number of OTT video platform providers has been soaring amidst market segment growth and the ongoing shift to Internet-delivered services, a trend that was illustrated during Telecompetitor’s broadbandTV event this past June.
“In what Netflix calls the era of internet TV, more and more consumers are watching content online, shaking the foundations of the traditional TV industry,” Westcott said. “However, it’s premature to declare that the era of linear TV is already over, and Netflix and Amazon have come hard on the heels of a boom in production of original drama and comedy by the likes of AMC and FX in the US.”
U.S. Market for TV
Basic cable TV networks released 148 new shows in 2015, up from 138 in 2014 and 96 in 2013, according to IHS Technology’s count. Cable TV networks have released 113 new basic, 78 network, 31 premium and 57 online programs so far this year. That’s way up from just three online scripted US TV shows in 2012, 20 in 2014 and 41 last year.
The U.S. market for TV programming remains the largest and most vital worldwide, IHS Technology continues. Contributing to this, U.S.-based OTT TV service providers are commissioning new programs in multiple countries.
“The primacy of the US in the worldwide programming market is clear,” Westcott said. “We estimate that in 2015, the US represented 33 percent of worldwide expenditure on TV programming, with $43 billion invested across free-to-air, pay TV and online.”
19-10-2016, 09:37 #9
An emoji is displayed on messaging app WeChat, Shanghai, Oct. 17, 2016. Yang Shenlai/Sixth Tone)
People’s Daily says the language used in chat app stickers should be standardized
Oct 18, 2016
A commentary in party-affiliated newspaper People’s Daily on Saturday called for the regulation of “stickers,” or emojis, single-frame memes, and animated GIFs used in chat apps.
The article was published in the paper’s “Learn Chinese” section of its Chinese-language overseas edition. It argued that the slang language used in many stickers can be confusing to people who study Chinese, and pointed to their sometimes erotic or violent content.
Many popular Chinese messaging apps have extensive features that allow users to send each other stickers. Market leader WeChat, for example, regularly introduces new sticker sets — some of which need to be paid for — and users can also share their own creations.
Another sticker critic quoted in the commentary is Tang Zhengda, an associate researcher at government-run think tank Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Much like the animated GIFs used on Twitter or reddit, many user-created stickers on WeChat are clips taken from memorable movie scenes. But Tang says many stickers include “content that is pornographic, violent, or otherwise negative and unhealthy, or even touches on the very baseline of virtue and law.” He added that this kind of content should be resolutely resisted.
For its part, WeChat says on its website that stickers submitted to the app may not be vulgar, sexual, violent, or otherwise harmful to “society’s positive development.” A spokeswoman for WeChat told Sixth Tone via text message that the company has measures in place to make sure the content of stickers does not overstep any boundaries. “The stickers that are submitted to WeChat are examined through manual review to ensure their compliance with national policy and our platform’s operating rules,” she said. WeChat now has 4,500 sticker sets — some user- generated — that are downloaded 20 million times a day, she added.
Party opinions don’t just focus on the content of stickers. A commentary earlier this month on the website of a provincial branch of the Communist Party warned that overuse of messaging app stickers reduces people’s ability to concentrate and express themselves.
The Chinese government strictly polices online content and from time to time expands its areas of control. In August, the government body that monitors the internet announced stricter control over “new internet products,” such as live streaming and “bullet screens,” or scrolling user comments played over videos.
Though some net users agreed with Saturday’s commentary that stickers sometimes cross the boundaries of good taste, many reactions on microblog platform Weibo complained that a new expansion of internet monitoring seemed imminent.
The top-rated comment under a microblog about the commentary was a play on words about internet monitoring that loosely translates as “The baton you wield is really big,” followed by two suggestive emojis.
Additional reporting by Fan Yiying. With contributions from Li You.
Última edição por 5ms; 19-10-2016 às 09:44.
30-10-2016, 14:16 #10
Amazon Prime Launches in China Without Digital Content
The company did not explain the video and music omissions, though the answer is likely to be regulatory.
October 30, 2016
E-commerce giant Amazon has launched its Prime subscription service in China – but shorn of its online music and video operations.
Instead Amazon Prime China will offer unlimited free shipping within China on millions of items and also on some categories of goods shipped from overseas. The cost is $28 (RMB188) during the promotional period that runs till February, and will rise to $57 (RMB388) thereafter.
The company did not explain the video and music omissions, though the answer is likely to be regulatory. China does not allow foreign media to operate freely in the country and video rival Netflix recently admitted that it saw no prospect of being allowed to enter China in the near future.
“We cannot run our normal playbook in China,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in a news conference last week.
Chinese authorities have this year been pushing back against foreign media. DisneyLife, a content joint venture between Alibaba and Disney was taken off air in April only four months after it launched inline. Similarly, Apple’s iTunes Music and iBooks were also halted.
While the closure of DisneyLife can have done little harm to Alibaba – it has numerous other entertainment options including streaming video platform Youku Tudou – the launch of Prime is a move by Amazon that strikes at Alibaba’s Chinese home and its core business.
Amazon’s strategy currently appears to be about offering a wider choice of foreign goods to Chinese consumers than are currently available via Alibaba, JD.com or other smaller e-commerce operators.
Online shopping has proved hugely popular in China with some RMB16 trillion transacted last year – an increase of 21% — and 23% shoppers buy goods from abroad. Alibaba has teamed up with numerous foreign brands and retailers such as Barney of New York.