NFLX - Netflix, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
291.44
-5.49 (-1.85%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close296.93
Open295.00
Bid290.75 x 1300
Ask291.40 x 900
Day's range290.34 - 299.00
52-week range231.23 - 386.80
Volume6,331,189
Avg. volume6,930,440
Market cap127.603B
Beta (3Y monthly)1.36
PE ratio (TTM)114.74
EPS (TTM)2.54
Earnings date14 Oct 2019 - 18 Oct 2019
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target est388.40
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • Netflix tests human-driven curation with launch of 'Collections'
    TechCrunch

    Netflix tests human-driven curation with launch of 'Collections'

    Netflix is testing a new way to help users find TV shows and movies they'llwant to watch with the launch of a "Collections" feature, currently in testingon iOS devices

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    Ewan McGregor to return as Obi-Wan in new 'Star Wars' streaming TV series

    Ewan McGregor will reprise his "Star Wars" role as Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi in a series for the upcoming Disney+ streaming service, the actor announced to fans of the beloved movie franchise on Friday. McGregor surprised the crowd at Walt Disney Co's D23 Expo fan convention, walking on stage to loud cheers and applause. "It's been four years of saying 'well, I don't know,'" in response to fan questions, McGregor told the crowd.

  • Is Netflix Losing Its Edge? Stock Continues to Slide
    Market Realist

    Is Netflix Losing Its Edge? Stock Continues to Slide

    Since Netflix posted its Q2 results, its stock has fallen 18%. Could the streaming giant lose its disruptor position as new players enter the market?

  • Vanguard, Capital Research Buy More Netflix Stock
    Market Realist

    Vanguard, Capital Research Buy More Netflix Stock

    The Vanguard Group, Capital Research Global Investors, and BlackRock Institutional Trust all raised their holdings in Netflix stock in the second quarter.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    UPDATE 3-Shares in Peppa Pig owner surge, analysts eye counter bidders

    Shares in Peppa Pig and PJ Masks-owner Entertainment One rose almost 39% to a record high on Friday, surpassing the $4 billion price tag agreed with U.S. toy maker Hasbro, in a sign that investors see a chance of a counter offer. The deal agreed by the Nerf and Power Rangers-maker was four times the 1 billion-pound ($1.22 billion) takeover offer which eOne rejected from UK commercial broadcaster ITV in 2016 as undervaluing the company.

  • Here's Why Netflix's Subscriber Growth Will Rebound in Q3
    Motley Fool

    Here's Why Netflix's Subscriber Growth Will Rebound in Q3

    This isn't the first time the streaming giant has whiffed on subscriber numbers, and it doesn't mean the sky is falling.

  • Netflix’s Streaming Dominance Is at a Crossroads, New Shows Coming
    Market Realist

    Netflix’s Streaming Dominance Is at a Crossroads, New Shows Coming

    Netflix's streaming dominance will face its biggest test this September. Soaring competition is increasingly becoming a threat in the industry.

  • Buying HBO Was the Easy Part for AT&T
    Bloomberg

    Buying HBO Was the Easy Part for AT&T

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Three years ago this month, Hollywood executive Peter Chernin and AT&T Inc. CEO Randall Stephenson shared a dinner on Martha’s Vineyard. Stephenson is still waiting for his dessert to arrive. It was the meal that sparked the idea for Stephenson, a practically lifelong member of the staid telephone industry, to enter the TV and film business by acquiring Time Warner, a then-$60 billion giant of the media world. After Stephenson struck the deal, he told Bloomberg News that it was Chernin who “first got me to appreciate the library that this company owns.” That library includes HBO, with hits like “Game of Thrones” and “Succession;” the Warner Bros. studio, which that year had an almost 17% share of the box office; and the rights to “Friends,” a sitcom that hasn’t aired fresh episodes in more than 15 years but has taken on new life as the Holy Grail of the streaming-TV market.In June of last year, 601 days after the companies agreed to merge, Time Warner officially became part of the Dallas-based wireless-phone carrier, defeating an attempt by the U.S. Justice Department to block the transaction. AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, as the Time Warner assets are now called, is seen as one of the biggest threats to Netflix Inc., though it doesn’t yet have a competing product to show for it. In fact, little more has come out of the WarnerMedia acquisition so far than reports of culture clashes, differing visions and high-profile personnel exits.According to the New York Post this week, some HBO staffers have been put off by the brusque management style of their new WarnerMedia boss John Stankey, a longtime AT&T executive. The Dallas-based C-suite is putting pressure on its Hollywood employees to ramp up HBO’s production slate as they coalesce around building a new streaming app named HBO Max, the strategy for which is still nebulous and seems to keep changing. They have a deadline to unveil the product to investors on Oct. 29. Later in the year, HBO Max will officially join the alphabet soup of video services already offered by AT&T:The subscription on-demand product sounds akin to Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ and Apple Inc.’s Apple TV+, which are both launching within the next three months and gunning for Netflix Inc.’s subscriber base. They’re spending billions of dollars to fill out their apps with HBO-quality content. In theory, AT&T is sitting on a set of assets best suited to draw a wide streaming audience, with HBO’s high-quality programming, plus news, sports, comedy, cartoons and popular films. But merger integration issues and AT&T’s lack of experience in the content business pose major challenges.The price could also turn off subscribers. HBO Max is expected to charge a few dollars more than the stand-alone HBO Now app, which at $15 a month is higher than Netflix’s $13 monthly fee and more than double the $7 that Disney+ will charge. In fact, bundling Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ will be just $13.  The irony is that while Stephenson tries to transform AT&T into a media conglomerate, the wireless business that’s effectively been overshadowed by the merger is improving. It's the healthiest area of the company. Wireless accounted for 37% of AT&T’s revenue in the last 12 months, but it was nearly 50% of Ebitda, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That cash flow is helping AT&T contend with a heavy debt load, which stood at $194 billion as of June. Wireless network performance has gotten better as new spectrum has been deployed, boosting AT&T’s image as the carriers transition to 5G service. Based on scoring by various outlets that track wireless connections, AT&T was able to crown itself America’s “fastest, best and most reliable network,” which are useful bragging rights for TV ads as the industry battles for customers. More important, AT&T is saving money through a public-private contract it won to build FirstNet, a network for first responders. Put simply, while AT&T’s workers climb towers to set up FirstNet, they’re also prepping its airwaves for 5G.These improvements haven’t yet reduced churn, or the rate at which customers are leaving AT&T, but that could be next should the wireless business stay on track. And if T-Mobile US Inc.’s takeover of Sprint Corp. overcomes state opposition (16 attorneys general have sued to block the deal), there will be one less competitor for AT&T and a chance to raise prices.AT&T’s DirecTV satellite business continues to shrink, with the company losing 946,000 video subscribers in the second quarter, including DirecTV Now customers who canceled in the wake of price hikes. That streaming service was recently renamed AT&T TV Now as the company moves away from the fading DirecTV brand. It also introduced a new service this week in certain markets called AT&T TV, which is a similar live-TV and on-demand app with various package options, but also involves using a streaming box where users can access other services they may subscribe to, such as Netflix. It became clear this week that AT&T TV and HBO Max together are at the center of Stephenson’s vision for the new AT&T.The idea must have seemed so sweet three years ago. But peering into the kitchen, it’s all still a bit hectic. He'll have to keep waiting for that dessert.To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., media and telecommunications. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Berlusconi Battles Billionaire to Build Netflix Rival
    Bloomberg

    Berlusconi Battles Billionaire to Build Netflix Rival

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French billionaire Vincent Bollore are locking horns again in a battle to lead the southern European charge against Netflix Inc. Bollore, who controls media conglomerate Vivendi SA, lost the first round against Berlusconi in 2017. He’s well positioned to do better in the second. Think of it as a European version of HBO’s hit show “Succession,” where a rival takes on an aging but still powerful media baron. The two tycoons are sparring over the future of Mediaset SpA, the Italian broadcaster that Berlusconi founded and controls. The Milan-based company plans to merge with Spanish affiliate Mediaset Espana Comunicacion SA and redomicile in the Netherlands. The move will consolidate the control that Berlusconi, 82, and his family, through investment vehicle Fininvest, have by giving them extra voting rights in the new company, which will be called MediaForEurope.It’s a prospect that Bollore, 67, must be loath to countenance. Vivendi owns 29% of Mediaset and plans to oppose the deal in a shareholder vote Sept. 4 since it will further diminish its influence, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday. While Berlusconi needs a two-thirds majority to approve the merger, Vivendi may only be able to exercise 9.6% of the voting rights because most of its shares sit in an independent trust as a result of a 2017 reprimand from the Italian regulator -- Bollore’s initial defeat by Berlusconi. Luckily Vivendi has another lever it might exercise. The deal will fall through if shareholders owning more than 180 million euros of stock exercise a withdrawal right, whereby Mediaset has to pay investors opposing the merger a set price for their shares. Even if Vivendi were only to exercise the rights on its 9.6% direct stake, that would top 300 million euros, potentially scuppering Berlusconi’s plans.It might just give Bollore the leverage he needs to realize a long-held goal: creating a southern European content champion that can better compete with Netflix. Doing so would likely mean selling the stake at a loss, but the threat could  force Berlusconi back to the negotiating table to forge some sort of alliance to pool Vivendi and Mediaset content. After all, the merger of the two Mediasets in Italy and Spain has a similar intention, to create a new video content giant.That’s how Bollore ended up with a stake in Mediaset to begin with. Back in 2016, he pulled out of a deal to buy Berlusconi’s Mediaset Premium (the pay TV arm that has since been sold to Comcast Inc.’s Sky unit) for some 800 million euros, instead buying up shares in the parent firm. Since Vivendi is also the biggest shareholder in Telecom Italia SpA, Italy’s communications regulator made the French firm forfeit most of its Mediaset voting rights, saying that the dual stakes breached rules concerning concentration of media and telecoms ownership.Bollore has been left with stakes in two Italian companies worth a combined 3.2 billion euros, but over which he has little influence. He also suffered a galling defeat at the hands of activist Elliott Management Corp. for control of Telecom Italia last year. He now has an opportunity to salvage some of the plans that first got him into this mess.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at awebb25@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Baker at stebaker@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Netflix's U.S. Market Share Slips as Competition Looms
    Motley Fool

    Netflix's U.S. Market Share Slips as Competition Looms

    Disney may have the greatest potential to challenge Netflix's dominance, according to eMarketer.

  • Motley Fool

    The Good and Bad of Chinese Media Stocks

    Not all streaming companies are made equal, and some of the Chinese media companies are set up for a lot more success than others.

  • Netflix Is Angling for Its Piece of This $122 Billion Market
    Motley Fool

    Netflix Is Angling for Its Piece of This $122 Billion Market

    While the streaming giant's hit shows are its bread and butter, another massive opportunity is waiting in the wings.

  • Netflix (NFLX) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Netflix (NFLX) Stock Sinks As Market Gains: What You Should Know

    Netflix (NFLX) closed at $297.81 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.39% move from the prior day.

  • Disney Slips 0.12% on Allegations of Inflated Revenue
    Market Realist

    Disney Slips 0.12% on Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    A former employee claims that Disney (DIS) inflates its revenue to enhance its financial results. Disney refutes the allegations.

  • Obamas’ American Factory Doc Hits Netflix, Stirs Debate
    Market Realist

    Obamas’ American Factory Doc Hits Netflix, Stirs Debate

    The first in the slate of content Netflix has ordered from former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama has arrived.

  • iQiyi's Content Strategy Faces Regulatory Headwinds
    Motley Fool

    iQiyi's Content Strategy Faces Regulatory Headwinds

    China's video streaming leader just crossed 100 million paying subscribers, but there are a few important details for investors to know.

  • Zacks

    Amazon Targets Subscribers in Australia With Original Content

    Amazon's (AMZN) contract with Rebel Wilson to make its first Australian original series is likely to expand its presence in the streaming market of Australia.

  • 5 Important Takeaways From iQiyi's Q2 Earnings Report
    Motley Fool

    5 Important Takeaways From iQiyi's Q2 Earnings Report

    Losses continue, but that's business as usual.

  • Apple TV+'s Plus-Size Content Budget
    Motley Fool

    Apple TV+'s Plus-Size Content Budget

    The tech titan is spending a lot more than its original $1 billion plan.

  • As YouTube Mulls Changes to Kids’ Content, Rival Services See Opportunity
    Bloomberg

    As YouTube Mulls Changes to Kids’ Content, Rival Services See Opportunity

    (Bloomberg) -- Earlier this summer, the Federal Trade Commission began holding private talks with YouTube officials, part of a burgeoning investigation. The video service stands accused of breaking laws overseeing kids’ web habits, placing a massive library of media and accompanying revenue in jeopardy. Neither YouTube nor the regulators have discussed the talks publicly. Yet despite the secrecy, a small British marketing firm started emailing some marquee YouTube advertisers about the developments. Reports indicated that the FTC would hit YouTube with a record fine and force its operations to change -- something, the emails noted, that would "be of interest" to YouTube's sponsors. "Regardless of what size the fine actually is, it represents a shift in the world for children's digital privacy," read the message. "Look forward to seeing you soon.”The emails were from SuperAwesome Ltd. Toy makers, animators and other brands pay the company to place online ads or access tools like the startup’s “safe, moderated” system for internet comments. In July, SuperAwesome added another offering: a video service, called Rukkaz, that works much like YouTube. Amateur broadcasters upload videos, sponsors back them and kids watch. Only the startup pledged to work with only hand-picked broadcasters, and pitched the service as a way to abide by privacy laws and avoid the demented footage lurking on the open web. "This is something that Google and Facebook, and arguably Apple, should have been doing for the past five years," said Dylan Collins, SuperAwesome's chief executive officer. "And they haven't."    Waves of new media darlings have tried to unseat YouTube, with no success. But Collins is one of several entrepreneurs trying to strike while YouTube is in turmoil. The video behemoth, owned by Alphabet Inc.'s Google, has earned a reputation as a Wild West of media, a place where young viewers have too readily stumbled on footage of crass humor or bloody violence. Lawmakers have asked about this, part of the scrutiny of the privacy practices and dominance of big tech. The FTC is probing whether Google violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prohibits tracking the personal information of minors under thirteen. YouTube's frequent tweaks to its all-powerful algorithms and ads policies have left video creators disgruntled. A handful of upstarts are hoping this momentum will help their cause. They've roped in venture financing, licensing deals and customers with the promise of creating kid-safe internet real estate.The FTC is inadvertently playing a role, too. Uncertainty over the case is producing panic in parts of the YouTube community, prompting some stars to hunt for alternatives. News reports surfaced that the FTC may force YouTube to move all children's videos to its Kids app or cut them off from ads. YouTube has offered no public statement on the issue and rumors have filled the vacuum."No one really has a sense of what is going to happen," said Michael, who runs KidCity and two other YouTube family channels. He is one of more than 150 YouTubers jumping to Rukkaz. He isn't moving off YouTube, but will cross-post select YouTube clips with the startup, which will share ad revenue. He asked that his last name not be revealed to protect the privacy of his two children.Kid's media online is booming as millions of children swap Saturday morning cartoons for streaming and smartphones. Most streaming services, like Netflix, run curated, slickly produced shows for kids, while YouTube relies on a mountain of unscripted, user-generated content. Multiple people who make these videos said that, in recent months, support representatives from YouTube have halted contact without explanation. A chief concern for many creators is that their videos will be restricted to YouTube Kids, a much less popular service, where Google runs fewer ads. “That would put everyone out of business. I mean, almost overnight,” said Michael.YouTube is unlikely to do that, or to cut off all its kids and family footage from ads. Instead, to comply with the FTC, YouTube is planning to end “targeted” ads on videos kids are likely to watch, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday. That solution would make it harder for the creators behind those clips to earn more from ads, although it's a less draconian move than some other rumored options.A problem with this approach, though, is defining kids’ videos. COPPA applies to any web service “directed to children.” While most clips on YouTube Kids, such as nursery rhyme cartoons, clearly are, other huge swaths of YouTube, like footage of video game streaming, arguably aren’t. Yet it’s an open secret that younger viewers love watching people play video games. Roughly a quarter of the YouTube ads one major toy company buys run on Minecraft videos, according to a media buyer with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private data. “The difficulty here is determining what is ‘kid’s directed,’” said Ashkan Soltani, a privacy researcher who previously served as the Chief Technologist for the FTC. “It’s not a bright-line rule.”  Once the line is drawn, YouTube creators do not want to fall on the wrong side. Many, like KidCity’s Michael, now describe their productions as “family-based play” or “co-play” – videos that feature adults and, the hope is, that adults watch. YouTube is not the only major player in an uncomfortable spot; other tech platforms are under similar pressure. The FTC fined Bytedance Inc., the owner of popular app TikTok, for violating federal guidelines on minors. Critics have complained that Facebook Inc. illegally tracks children’s online behavior. Many in children's media don't expect a viable solution to come from the household names. "It doesn't make sense that big internet companies can take something they designed for grown-ups and make that for kids," said Kevin Donahue, an early YouTube executive who now runs Epic, an e-book startup. "You have to create something new." (Donahue said has no interest in rivaling his old company, though. "We're not at all doing that," he said.)For most newcomers, that something looks like Netflix: A subscription service with a limited selection. The idea is that parents would pay for some parts of YouTube popular with kids: the toy unboxers and niche animators, without the pratfalls of an unlimited content library. Three years ago, Epic added video to its $7.99 a month e-books app. It offers a few thousand clips, all reviewed by staff members. Kidoodle.TV, a Canadian company, offers children’s videos on set-top box services like Roku. Another, JuniorTube, had a slate of curated amateur videos available on a subscription-based app. Earlier this week, Roku added a new curated kids and family section.Highbrow, a London-based startup, sells a $6.49 monthly service with a tagline “trusted by schools and parents worldwide.” Priyanka Raswant, a corporate lawyer, formed the company as she was preparing to have her first child. She found most videos available on YouTube Kids “nonsensical” and the app unhelpful for parents. “If you see something outrageous, you have to report it,” Raswant said. “They’ve put the onus on the parents. Most parents don’t even have time to brush their teeth.” Highbrow has partnered with telecoms in Latin America and India for distribution, but doesn’t share sales data. The service carries videos from Pinkfong, the studio behind mega-hit “Baby Shark,” as well as smaller shows like “Travel With Kids” from PBS.SuperAwesome is one of the few borrowing YouTube’s model of free, ad-supported programming. The startup is set to book $60 million in revenue this year. (YouTube doesn’t share sales, but estimates place the yearly sales from its kids’ content north of $700 million.) Collins said his company is profitable. Of course, the uncertainty surrounding kids’ online video could also threaten those profits. His ad business is competing against  those at the twin giants of Google and Facebook. The benefits of SuperAwesome’s ad services might not be as apparent if YouTube passes through the FTC probe unscathed and grows its Kids’ app.That could mean that more is riding on Collins’ video service. For Rukkaz, Collins is targeting YouTube's blind spots. Most of YouTube Kids caters to preschoolers, so Collins is recruiting creators aiming for an older audience. He's also approaching creators with between 500 thousand and a million subscribers on YouTube -- enough to earn livings from the site, but not to be inculcated from its swings. "This entire community is really being orphaned by YouTube," Collins said.Michael, who runs the KidCity channel, is optimistic about Rukkaz. He’s planning to use SuperAwesome’s feature for hosting video comments, which he finds useful for getting audience feedback. YouTube shut off comments on videos with children earlier this year, but allowed a select group of channels to keep them with the condition they “actively moderate” the posts. Filtering those comments, though, requires using a manual system. “You have to go in there and spell the dirty words,” he said. His attempts to find footing beyond YouTube haven’t succeed in the past. On KidCity, the Texan father and his two children perform long skits dressed up as familiar cartoon characters – Marvel Comic’s Wolverine or Disney’s Queen Elsa. They tried to post one of these clips on Amazon’s self-publishing service, Prime Video Direct, but the company rejected the videos citing intellectual property concerns. A KidCity clip of his son donning a Spiderman costume and testing a Spiderman toy has over 85 million views on YouTube. YouTube’s laissez-faire approach to media has brought scathing critics, but it has also enabled countless careers online."That's the creator platform for kids," said Michael. "The only one, unfortunately." At least one would-be YouTube rival has already bit the dust. JuniorTube, a company based in Indiana, made a paid app and recruited a few established YouTubers. Like the others, it managed the costs of hosting video and other back-end services, splitting sales with video producers. In May, these producers received an email that JuniorTube had shut down "due to very poor business performance and audience interest." To contact the author of this story: Mark Bergen in San Francisco at mbergen10@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Biuso at ebiuso@bloomberg.net, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 4 Reasons Netflix Cancels Its Original Programs
    Motley Fool

    4 Reasons Netflix Cancels Its Original Programs

    The company has been canceling a lot more shows than it used to.

  • Better Buy Amid Market Volatility: Amazon (AMZN) vs. Walmart (WMT) Stock
    Zacks

    Better Buy Amid Market Volatility: Amazon (AMZN) vs. Walmart (WMT) Stock

    Let's take a look at which stock, Amazon (AZMN) vs. Walmart (WMT), looks like a better buy amid market volatility...

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    US STOCKS-Wall Street rally ends as financial shares slide

    Financial shares led U.S. stocks lower on Tuesday to end a three-day rally as investors awaited comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the end of the week. The S&P 500 financial index dropped 1.4% and the group weighed most heavily on the benchmark index among its major sectors, which all registered losses. The S&P 500 is now 4.1% shy of its record closing high in July after having fallen as much as 6.2% below that level.

  • Netflix’s new feature for tracking upcoming releases could help retain subscribers
    TechCrunch

    Netflix’s new feature for tracking upcoming releases could help retain subscribers

    Hoping to keep viewers engaged with its content, Netflix today announced the launch of a new section called "Latest" in its TV app, designed to highlight the streaming service's recent and upcoming releases. It's now doing its own version of Project Runway, and has a slate of shows that are obviously inspired by (if not precisely copied from) popular reality TV hits like Million Dollar Listing, Say Yes to the Dress, Cupcake Wars, Top Chef, The Bachelor, Real Housewives and others.

  • Apple's TV Splurge Just Adds to the Madness
    Bloomberg

    Apple's TV Splurge Just Adds to the Madness

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Get ready, TV fans, because the next few months are going to be wild. Apple Inc., AT&T Inc., Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are spending billions of dollars on so much new streaming content that there will be little reason to leave your couch this winter – or to keep your cable subscription.Apple gave a taste yesterday of what it’s been working on by releasing a trailer for “The Morning Show,” an original series that looks so good it could easily be mistaken for an HBO production. With an all-star cast led by Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, Apple is said to be spending $300 million alone for the first two seasons. The company has committed a whopping $6 billion overall to produce original shows and movies, according to the Financial Times, which would match what Netflix spent in 2017 and would also be in the same ballpark as Amazon.com Inc.’s expected content investment for this year. Other outlets have disputed that Apple’s budget is quite so large. Either way, it’s clear the iPhone maker is serious about streaming. The Apple TV+ and Disney+ video-on-demand apps will both be available by mid-November, followed by AT&T’s HBO Max product. They are game-changers for the pay-TV industry, already littered with live-TV streaming products from Sling TV to YouTube TV.Disney has spent about $15 million per episode to make “The Mandalorian,” a live-action “Star Wars” series that will serve as the flagship of Disney+, according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s about $120 million for the first season, which isn’t far from what Disney shelled out for “Captain Marvel,” the third-biggest movie of the year in terms of U.S. box-office ticket sales. The company expects to invest more than $1 billion in original content for the app next year and another roughly $1 billion for licensed content. These streaming wars are risky. Studio owners generally have a sense of what a TV program could deliver in advertising revenue and how large of a theater audience a film might draw. But Disney+ will charge just $7 a month and contain no ads. The company is betting it can build a large enough customer base so that all these pricey investments that have shareholders wincing right now will pay off some day.In the Apple TV trailer above, Aniston’s character at one point says, “I just need to be able to control the narrative so that I am not written out of it.” It struck me as funny because that’s exactly what Disney and its peers are trying to do as they flood the market with content and turn a blind eye to the cost. Disney predicts it will have 60 million to 90 million Disney+ subscribers globally by the end of fiscal 2024, when the app finally begins making money. Analysts see Apple TV+ topping 100 million in the next five years, according to Bloomberg News. While both are starting from zero, they do have the advantage of strong, far-reaching customer relationships – Disney through its movies and theme parks, and Apple by physically being in most of our pockets already. Netflix is protecting its turf by lighting it on fire. It’s projected to spend about $15 billion for in-house and licensed content this year while burning $3 billion of free cash flow. The company paid $100 million just to keep “Friends” on its platform through 2019. Even though the sitcom hasn’t aired new episodes in more than 15 years, it’s the second-most-watched program on Netflix. After this year, AT&T is reclaiming the rights to the show for its HBO Max product.A little over a year ago, Casey Bloys, HBO’s programming chief, referred to such spending as “irrational exuberance.” But then earlier this year, his boss, HBO Chairman Richard Plepler, left the company in a shake-up by its new parent AT&T. HBO is now ramping up its production slate to reduce churn, or the rate at which bored subscribers are canceling, and HBO Max is reportedly paying $425 million to carry “Friends” for five years starting in 2020. Likewise, the Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal has its own $500 million five-year exclusive rights deal for “The Office,” the No. 1 show on Netflix. There is a potential fallacy in the companies’ thinking around these lavish deals: What if Netflix subscribers were streaming “Friends” and “The Office” for hours on end simply for background noise, something to mindlessly tune in and out of as they scrolled Instagram or did chores? In that case, perhaps users won’t necessarily miss those specific shows and won’t switch to other services at a rate that would come close to justifying nearly $1 billion for two old sitcoms. In any case, I keep writing about the frustration of needing to pay for and toggle between numerous apps just to access all your favorite content and the confusion that comes with doing so. It’s only going to get worse once Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max launch. But at least there will be no shortage of stuff to watch, and with all this money being thrown around, you know it’ll be good. To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at tlachapelle@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., media and telecommunications. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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