360.09 0.00 (0.00%)
After hours: 4:55PM EST
|Bid||360.33 x 800|
|Ask||361.99 x 1000|
|Day's range||357.72 - 375.65|
|52-week range||252.28 - 392.95|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.48|
|PE ratio (TTM)||87.19|
|Earnings date||13 Apr 2020 - 19 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||364.84|
This week, stocks sold off after Apple, Walmart and multiple other U.S. companies warned that revenue will be lower than expected for Q1 2020 due to the China coronavirus outbreak. Actionable stocks making moves on IBD Live included Nvidia, Netflix, Domino's Pizza, Microsoft and more.
Digital banking app Revolut has raised $500 million in a fresh funding round, confirming the British-based business as one of the world's most valuable financial technology firms with a valuation of $5.5 billion. The Series D funding round was led by U.S. investment firm TCV - which has previously backed Netflix, Spotify and Airbnb - and takes the total amount raised by Revolut to $836 million. Revolut has attracted more than 10 million customers since its launch in 2015 by offering slick money management tools and undercutting traditional banks on pricing for foreign exchange, stock trading and money transfers.
(Bloomberg) -- Before HQ Trivia ran out of money earlier this month and abruptly shut down, the once-promising startup appeared to be on the brink of a dramatic victory. It had an acquisition offer from a media company called Whistle. The deal would have given HQ the cash it desperately needed to keep the lights on. Whistle was still doing its due diligence, but it already knew that HQ Trivia had been declining in popularity in recent months. It was familiar with the company’s history of managerial infighting, and it was aware of the shocking death of its 34-year-old co-founder from a drug overdose.Then, earlier this month, Whistle pulled out unexpectedly. HQ’s board members were blindsided, according to two people close to the company who asked not to be identified discussing private conversations. The company’s chief executive officer, Rus Yusupov, sent an email to its 25 employees on Valentine’s Day, telling them they were losing their jobs.That day, users got a bitter push notification on their phones. “HQ is live,” it read. “Just kidding. We’re off-air indefinitely.”The story of how one of the most promising companies in entertainment got to this point is a singular example of a clever idea derailed by what former employees describe as mismanagement and seething boardroom drama. In 2018, the New Statesman declared that “HQ Trivia—not Netflix—is the real future of television.” This year, by the time it was talking to digital video maker Whistle about a deal, HQ parent Intermedia Labs was on the verge of not being able to pay out promised prize money, people familiar with the company said.In nearly a dozen interviews with former employees, industry experts and others close to the startup, a portrait emerged of a company whose problems ran deeper than has been previously reported. In Silicon Valley, it’s not uncommon for good ideas to be stymied by managerial dysfunction. But HQ displayed a degree of personal animosity between staff and management—and among managers themselves—that’s rare even by tech startup standards. Yusupov, his board members and key employees all declined requests for comment. Most people who agreed to speak requested anonymity in order to protect their relationships, and prospects of getting another job in the industry.Now, the company is fighting for a second chance. On February 18, four days after declaring HQ was over and out of money, Yusupov tweeted that a new buyer had emerged. People familiar with the situation also say that a deal is close, though not finalized, and could become official as soon as early this week. Still, some who worked at the startup remain skeptical that HQ will ever make a comeback.Its most famous former employee, quiz show host Scott Rogowsky, tweeted a post-mortem for the company the day after it shut down. “HQ didn’t die of natural causes,” he wrote. “It was poisoned with a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance, short-sightedness & sociopathic delusion.”On paper, the guys who founded HQ Trivia made a pretty good team. Yusupov and Colin Kroll had previously created Vine, the short looping video company. It became a force on the internet, minting now-famous influencers like viral provocateurs Jake and Logan Paul and musician Shawn Mendes. Vine was acquired by Twitter in 2015 for $30 million.But that integration into Twitter proved to be the first major setback for the promising duo. Kroll and Yusupov were both fired from the company at different times, Recode later reported. And, according to allegations that eventually surfaced in the media, Kroll made some of his female colleagues there uneasy with “creepy” behavior. In a statement to Axios, Kroll would later apologize for “things I said and did that made some feel unappreciated or uncomfortable,” and deny sexually harassing anyone. An investigation conducted by HQ’s board would also find his behavior fell short of harassment. The Twitter tie-up came to an end in October 2016, when the company shut down the service.By that point, though, Kroll and Yusupov had earned a reputation as online video whiz kids, and they found support for their next project, a live video app called Hype. Lightspeed Venture Partners invested $8 million to get the company off the ground, Recode reported. Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew praised the company in a Medium post partly titled “Founders Matter,” which lauded pioneering social media entrepreneurs. “When these founders move on, they tend to see success again in their next venture,” he wrote. Hype didn’t find an audience. Neither did the company’s other ideas for a DIY game show or a celebrity baby photo-matching game. But before long, Yusupov and Kroll struck internet oil. HQ Trivia launched in August 2017 with a glitchy app, but almost immediately, it was a sensation. The game, an interactive mobile trivia show, was fun to play—and people of all ages found it addictive. When the live broadcast of the show would come on each day thousands of people stopped what they were doing to look at their phones and try to answer the game’s 12 questions correctly for cash prizes. Within months hundreds of thousands of players would tune in for the company’s daily show. But by mid-December of 2017, just months after its launch, trouble was already brewing for the company. HQ was struggling to raise money thanks to a reputation for “womanizing” that Kroll had left behind at Twitter, Liew said in a statement at the time to media outlets including Businessweek. Concerned by investors’ reticence, Liew, who was on the HQ board, launched an investigation into the allegations. He concluded that Kroll hadn’t been popular at Twitter, but that he didn’t harass anyone.As questions percolated about HQ’s management, its trivia app’s growth continued unabated. In February, the company scored a Super Bowl commercial, cementing its position as a staple of popular culture. The month after, the company raised $15 million in a funding round led VC firm Founders Fund. In a statement accompanying the funding announcement, Kroll said he was “let go” by Twitter from his role at Vine for “poor management,” and apologized for past behavior. HQ’s valuation climbed to $100 million.The high point for HQ Trivia came in March 2018, when almost 2.4 million people tuned in to try and win a $250,000 prize sponsored by Warner Bros. to promote its upcoming movie, “Ready Player One.” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made an appearance the next month, reaching a slightly smaller audience, and the game continued to book major sponsors like Nike Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and JPMorgan Chase & Co.Despite the star power, in 2018 HQ Trivia was starting to slip in the App Store rankings. It went from consistently landing in the top five slots in the “games” category in the U.S. App Store at the beginning of the year, to 188th place on July 1, according to App Annie.The key problem was that HQ wasn’t innovating, according to conversations with former employees. As people got bored with the main game, the company had little else to offer them. The stagnation wasn’t necessarily for a lack of ideas. Starting in 2018, the company discussed lots of additional shows including a “Judge Judy”-like program, and one based on “Family Feud,” people familiar with the company said. A dating show idea got far enough along that the company even made a pilot, they said, but it never launched.Yusupov was more interested in building out HQ’s flagship product than launching new ones, former employees said. Several people also said that Yusupov, a talented designer and creative thinker, could be erratic—alternating between bursts of frenetic activity and long periods of inaction. One employee recalled how once, hours before a game was supposed to drop, Yusupov asked to cut the number of winners from 5,000 to 500. Another former staffer remembered Yusupov personally overseeing the details for a game, even as larger issues like cash burn loomed at the company.A representative for Yusupov declined requests for comment. In a conversation with the Wall Street Journal in 2019, he said, “I’ve always welcomed and appreciated candid feedback. I’m evolving as a leader and will continue to do so.”That spring, Kroll contemplated leaving HQ altogether. His relationship with Yusupov had been rocky since the allegations and subsequent fundraising struggles. "I have a lot of ideas left," he said in a text message to a friend reviewed by Bloomberg. "And I don't want to make them w/Rus."At the office, Yusupov and Kroll continued to sit next to each other. But their mutual dislike had become so intense that one person familiar with the dynamic recalled that instead of speaking, they would sometimes Slack employees messages for each other.In August 2018, some members of HQ’s four-person board of directors felt the company needed a change in leadership, Recode reported. Liew and Kroll wanted Kroll to replace Yusupov as CEO. “We’re trying to diversify a bit, and that’s where my skill-set comes in handy,” Kroll would later tell tech site Digiday. Yusupov, however, didn’t want to give up his job, according to people with knowledge of the dynamic at the time.Displacing a CEO, even with another co-founder, is a seismic event for a startup. “Removing the founder more often than not is like ripping out the heart of the company,” Carol Liao, assistant professor of law at the University of British Columbia, wrote in an email. To add to that, investors doing the ousting are also risking becoming known as unfriendly to founders. "If that becomes your reputation, you're in trouble," said Brandy Aven, associate professor of organizational theory, strategy, and entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University.HQ’s board consisted of Liew, Kroll, Yusupov and Founders Fund’s Cyan Banister, who had joined earlier that year in the $15 million funding round. In the standoff between Kroll and Yusupov, Banister didn’t want to pick a side. (Founders Fund boasts on its website that it “has never removed a single founder.”) So she left the board to avoid the decision. That left Yusupov outnumbered 2-to-1. He was demoted. Before Kroll’s ascension to the CEO spot was announced, though, an employee filed a complaint about him to human resources, Recode first reported. The complaint, which accused Kroll of “inappropriate and unprofessional” management, was elevated to the board and leaked to the press. In an indication of the brewing mistrust at the company, Kroll suspected the leak could have come from Yusupov’s camp, according to text messages reviewed by Bloomberg.The complaint did not derail Kroll’s appointment, but the transfer of power solidified the long-gestating enmity between the founders. Yusupov felt betrayed that Kroll and Liew took away his job, people familiar with the situation said. Kroll thought Yusupov had tried to sabotage him in the press. He confided in a friend that he was considering firing his co-founder, and texted, "Feel like I should stop talking to Rus.”Then, just months after Kroll took over, HQ suffered its most shocking setback. In mid-December 2018, the company threw its annual holiday party. Kroll left the event and ordered drugs through an on-demand delivery service in New York City called Mike’s Candyshop, according to reports at the time. After taking the drugs with a girlfriend in his apartment late that night, the next day police found Kroll dead in his bed. The autopsy found heroin, cocaine and fentanyl in his body. Six men were arrested for running the drug service that provided the lethal substances, news reports said.Kroll’s death stunned HQ’s staff—and thrust Yusupov back into the unofficial role of CEO. That unsettled some employees. A few said they feared the company would slip into a state of inaction they believed had characterized Yusupov’s tenure as CEO. So several staffers—including the face of the company, quiz show host Rogowsky—started circulating the idea of drafting a letter demanding that the board replace Yusupov, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. A sizable number of HQ’s employees added their names.Liew was made aware of the letter before he ever received it. A hasty, all-staff meeting was called in February 2019, with Liew and other board members in attendance. At the meeting, the assembled staff was told that the board had hired a search firm to help HQ Trivia find a new leader. In the meantime HQ’s top engineering exec, Ben Sheats, and the company’s head of production, Nick Gallo, would share the CEO role with Yusupov, according to several former employees who were at the meeting. Liew also said that once Yusupov’s replacement was found, he would step down as board member, yielding his seat to his Lightspeed colleague, Merci Grace.But the new CEO never came. HQ spoke to a number of candidates in 2019, and got close on a few, but ultimately failed to hire anyone, according to people familiar with the discussions. Shortly after the February all-hands meeting, Rogowsky, by far HQ’s most visible employee, left for another job.By late summer of last year, it was clear that HQ needed an influx of capital, or new ownership, in order to survive. The number of downloads were down, and the company laid off about 20% of its staff in July, TechCrunch reported. The board hired Watertower Group, a boutique investment and advisory firm, and set out to explore their options, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. Watertower Group did not respond to requests for comment.In November, the company began talks with Whistle, formerly known as Whistle Sports, about an acquisition. Whistle makes digital shows for platforms like YouTube, IGTV, Snapchat Discover and the video section inside Facebook Inc., called Watch. HQ Trivia’s late attempts at new games, including HQ Tunes for music trivia launched in December 2019, had failed to take off. But it wasn’t hard to see how the company's offerings might fit into Whistle’s broader content strategy.HQ’s board expected the deal to close in mid-February, then Whistle pulled the plug, according to people familiar with the startup’s thinking. The botched acquisition meant HQ no longer had the money to sustain operations, Yusupov tweeted. The one-time media darling suddenly, abruptly shuttered.In a statement, a spokeswoman for Whistle confirmed that the company had had conversations with HQ as part of its broader growth strategy. “We will continue to look for the right growth opportunities,” she wrote. HQ’s demise was not exactly surprising. Since the start of this year, HQ Trivia had not cracked the top 1,000 in the rankings of top games in the U.S. App Store, according to App Annie. Still, its closure marked one of the most dramatic tumbles from grace in recent tech history. “With HQ we showed the world the future of TV,” Yusupov tweeted. “Thanks to everyone who helped build this and thanks for playing.”While the game is over for the foreseeable future, the world has likely not heard the last of HQ. The company will be the focus of a new podcast from sports and entertainment outlet, the Ringer. And a group of former employees is currently shopping a documentary-style video series to a number of well-known streaming services, according to people familiar with the discussions. The group includes former host Rogowsky—but not Yusupov—the people said.Meanwhile, HQ is still seeking a reprieve. After the Whistle deal fell through, Yusupov and HQ’s board spent the weekend calling around in search of another buyer, according people familiar with the situation. Now, the people said, a deal is being negotiated and is expected to close in the coming days, but is still not official.The hope is that this new buyer will pay enough for HQ to at least deliver severance for employees and prize money for players, people familiar with the matter said, if not fund a return to glory for the app.Several people with knowledge of the discussions declined to comment on who the new buyer was, citing a fear of upending the deal. But that didn’t stop Yusupov from sharing last week that something is in the works. “We have found a new home for HQ, with a company that wants to keep it running,” he tweeted Tuesday. “Not a done deal yet, but I’m optimistic.”(Updates with context in the 31st paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the month of the app's first launch.)\--With assistance from Sarah McBride.To contact the author of this story: Kurt Wagner in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at firstname.lastname@example.org, Mark MilianAndrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Indian streaming market is expected to witness intense price war and increased investments in original content in 2020 while Disney prepares Disney+ entry next month.
Adapted from a comic book series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, the show tells the story of the Locke family after they move into the mysterious Keyhouse, where they soon discover hidden keys that can be used for a variety of magical purposes. With its emphasis on adolescent romance and magical powers, "Locke & Key" often feels like a young adult adaptation, but it also strays into darker territory, with plenty of horror, as well as a persuasive focus on the family's ongoing trauma following the violent death of husband/father Rendell Locke. Despite some quibbles, your Original Content podcast hosts agree that the show manages to balance these different elements effectively, with surprising plot twists, creepy visuals and a particularly compelling sibling relationship between the two teenaged Lockes, Tyler (played by Connor Jessup) and Kinsey (Emilia Jones).
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world threatened by trade wars. Sign up here. European finance chiefs arrived at a meeting of their global peers in Riyadh demanding the urgent creation of a new global tax system for the 21st century that would capture the profits of tech multinationals. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded: it’s not that simple.New rules for taxing companies like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. have stirred intense debate at this weekend’s Group of 20 meeting of finance chiefs. Finding a solution this year is key to maintaining a tariff truce the U.S. and Europe struck after France agreed to delay the collection of a national levy.While finance ministers from France and Germany were among those expressing confidence on Saturday that a compromise could be found in time, Mnuchin warned that he is somewhat hamstrung. “Let me emphasize: in the U.S., depending upon what the solutions are, these may require congressional approval,” he said during a discussion, sitting alongside France’s Bruno Le Maire.The pair have held tense discussions since France introduced a 3% levy last year on the digital revenue of companies that make their sales primarily online. The move was supposed to give impetus to international talks to redefine tax rules, and the government has pledged to abolish its national tax if there is agreement on such rules.The U.S. has argued the French measure discriminates against American companies, and threatened tariffs as high as 100% on $2.4 billion of French goods. Donald Trump’s government agreed to hold fire on import duties and France pushed back collecting the digital tax until the end of 2020.“One of the things we’re balancing is sticking with the fundamental issue of taxing based upon where companies are -- the more we change that to broaden this, the more we run into other issues,” Mnuchin said. He indicated Congress as a hurdle before any major changes on taxes can be agreed upon, but added “there’s a tremendous desire to get this done.”Spain, Italy and Austria also want to impose a digital service tax. Turkey, a G-20 member, introduced a 7.5% levy in December, targeting companies from Google and Facebook to Netflix Inc.“It is our collective responsibility to reach a global agreement on this issue by the end of this year,” the finance ministers of the euro area’s four largest economy said in an editorial published in European newspapers. “We now have a unique opportunity to recast the global tax system to make it fairer and more effective.”Sticking PointThe key sticking point is a U.S. proposal to make the new digital tax rules a safe-harbor regime. Doing that, the U.S. has said, would address concerns of taxpayers about mandatory departure from longstanding rules. France and others have contested that could render the rules effectively optional, which would make agreement impossible.In Riyadh, Mnuchin countered this interpretation.“What a safe harbor is -- and there’s lots of safe harbors that exist -- you pay the safe harbor as opposed to paying something else, and you get tax certainty,” he said. “People may pay a little bit more in a safe harbor knowing they have tax certainty.”Le Maire said he welcomed Mnuchin’s clarification.“We are in the process of technically assessing what it really means and what might be the consequences of such a solution,” he said. “It is fair and useful to give all the attention to this U.S. proposal.”To get agreement, Le Maire also said France would be open to a “phased” or “step-by-step” approach.German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said there’s more than a 50% chance that a deal is struck before the end of the year.“Everyone has understood that it would be bad to push the debate into the next year or the year after that,” he told reporters. “We need something that helps protect us against the race to the bottom on taxes.”The framework -- developed under the leadership of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development -- will also include a deal on a global minimum tax, which the group is close to agreeing on, according to Mnuchin.Most countries want any OECD deal to be accepted as a package: the digital service tax along with a global minimum tax. The OECD has said both reforms together could boost government tax revenues by around $100 billion.To contact the reporters on this story: Saleha Mohsin in Washington at email@example.com;William Horobin in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at email@example.com, Jana Randow, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Microsoft, Netflix, Adobe, International Business Machines and Apple
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “House of Brands” probably wasn’t the best choice of words by ViacomCBS Inc. in describing its streaming-TV strategy. It’s best for a company in its position to avoid what sounds eerily similar to another phrase — one that implies a shaky structure doomed to collapse. It’s also best not to remind people of the name of a hit series created by Netflix Inc., the very symbol of the end of times for cable networks like those owned by ViacomCBS. But the company may be on to something. Its house — er, collection — of TV and film brands were slapped together, just like its name, through the December merger of Viacom and CBS. Together, they have the potential to constitute an attractive streaming-TV offering for consumers different from existing ones. That means there’s at least hope for ViacomCBS, and that’s truly all investors and employees could reasonably expect right now. On Thursday, ViacomCBS posted unflattering results for its first quarter as a unified company, and its shares plunged 18%. It’s a reflection of the difficulty of stitching together two businesses with much different cultures — a challenge for any chief executive officer, but one that’s exacerbated in this case by the historical tensions between the two sides and the industry streaming wars that have threatened to make both of them irrelevant. Analysts predicted at least $7 billion of revenue for the period ended Dec. 31, but ViacomCBS took in only $6.87 billion amid a drop in traditional TV viewers, lower political advertising spending and a weak box-office showing. The merger closed on Dec. 5.But there were slivers of good news. Among them was the company’s announcement that it’s creating a new subscription-video service that will expand on the $6-a-month CBS All Access app ($10 for the commercial-free version) by stuffing it with more content from other parts of the empire. The company referred to it as a “House of Brands” product, the idea being that it can bring together its various entertainment, news, sports and film properties to reach a wider audience. The company’s biggest assets are CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures and Showtime. It also owns Pluto TV, the advertising-supported service for consumers who want to stream for free, while Showtime targets the higher-end of the market with an $11-a-month online subscription.The strategy sounds a bit like the approach Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal is taking with its Peacock product, which is set to launch in April. Peacock will have a diverse library — everything from “Parks and Recreation” to “Jurassic Park” plus new shows — that most people will be able to access for free, with the option of paying $10 a month to cut out the ads. In contrast, Disney+, the fast-growing streaming service from Walt Disney Co., has more narrow appeal as it’s predominantly geared toward children and Marvel and “Star Wars” superfans; it has also shunned advertisers (for now). Peacock mimics the breadth of Netflix, whereas Disney+ looks more like a niche add-on option for Netflixers. A tremendous challenge for all the media giants, but especially ViacomCBS, is deciding where to put their content. ViacomCBS needs to continue to nourish its cable networks, the biggest moneymakers, while choosing which titles to save for CBS All Access to drive subscriber growth and which to sell to rival streaming services that are willing to pay for them. For example, the Paramount division previously produced the popular — and controversial — series “13 Reasons Why” for Netflix, a show that could have also appealed to MTV’s audience and potentially would have been a good fit for the expansion of CBS All Access. In that sense, it’s as if the different units within ViacomCBS are competing with one another. For once, though, Viacom and CBS are working under one clear leader, which is probably the biggest positive development following years of infighting and drama at both entities, both controlled by the Redstone family. Bob Bakish, Viacom’s well-liked, hard-nosed CEO of the last three years, is now in charge of the merged company, while Joe Ianniello, who had been Leslie Moonves’s No. 2 at CBS, is leaving next month. Moonves was ousted in September 2018 after a slew of sexual-harassment allegations came to light, ultimately paving the way for the merger of CBS and Viacom. Ianniello, though instrumental in getting the deal done — if only for the outrageous pay package used to placate him — was a symbol of the old regime and a possible wrench in Bakish’s salvage plan.Bakish has a lot of work to do, and fast. But his idea isn’t a bad one. To contact the author of this story: Tara Lachapelle at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Facebook, Netflix, NextEra Energy, GlaxoSmithKline and T-Mobile US
(Bloomberg) -- As global streaming giants Netflix Inc. and Walt Disney Co. spend millions of dollars to grab viewers in India, a country that could become their biggest overseas market, a homegrown rival is preparing to defend its turf.Zee5, the top domestic streaming platform set up by India’s biggest television broadcaster, is betting on local content to fend off big-spending rivals, Chief Executive Officer Tarun Katial said in an interview. The over-the-top, or OTT, service is playing to its advantage by adding more local-language shows and lower-price options to gain market share, he said.“International OTTs have neither legacy nor library with depth,” Katial said at his office in Mumbai, adding that Zee5 has produced more than 100 original shows in local languages, at least 10 times more than any rival.“We can win this content battle.”Zee5, which started in 2018, is among dozens of streaming platforms including Amazon.com Inc. locked in a race for Indian users, a market that Boston Consulting Group estimates will reach about $5 billion in 2023. With China closed to foreign streaming services, India has become a battleground for global streaming brands, with an emphasis on delivering films and TV shows to smartphone users expected to number 850 million in two years.After amassing 61 million active monthly users in its first 15 months in India, Katial says Zee5 has little choice but to keep producing new shows at even faster rates. The platform aims to add between 70 and 80 original shows over the coming year, while making 15 direct-to-digital movies for release in 2021.Representatives for Netflix and Disney’s Hotstar platform in India declined to comment.There are 22 official languages in India, creating a broad battlefield for niche audiences.“It’s a strategy to move away from fighting in the fiercely competitive segment of Hindi or English,” Bhupendra Tiwary, an analyst at ICICIdirect, said of Zee5’s local-content push. “Zee is creating its own space in this war zone where it sees more opportunity.”Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., part of the Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, is increasing its investment in streaming, even though the broadcaster has seen its market value plunge on concern the group’s debt had grown too large. Chandra, who opened India’s first amusement park and brought satellite television to the country, has had to sell his stake in Zee, while staying on as a board member.“We are completely insulated from the financial concern which our parent group went through last year,” Katial said. He declined to say how much the company was planning to spend on growth.Zee Entertainment shares gained 2% as of 2:36 p.m. in Mumbai trading Thursday. Zee5, the streaming platform, is planning its local-language expansion just as some of its global rivals are pushing further into India.Disney PushDisney earlier this month said it will introduce its Disney+ streaming service in India through its Hotstar platform on March 29, at the beginning of the Indian Premier League cricket season. Hotstar, which has said it has 300 million active monthly users, has relied on India’s most popular sport to draw users after spending big to secure the rights.Disney is also re-branding the Hotstar VIP and Premium subscription tiers to Disney+ Hotstar to underline its global brand.Netflix, the world’s largest streaming platform by paid subscribers, has said it intends to sign on 100 million subscribers in India, almost 25 times the customer base it had in the country as of this year. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said during a visit to the country in December that Netflix intends to spend 30 billion rupees ($419 million) over 2019 and 2020 to produce more local content.Netflix’s “Sacred Games” series, a local original, has drawn Indian viewers globally, the company has said. “Lust Stories,” a Hindi-language anthology of short films, released in June 2018, also drew attention.Zee5 has said its original “Rangbaaz Phirse” and “The Final Call” series are hits, along with “Auto Shankar,” a Tamil-language show.Price WarAt the same time, competitors are paring fees to draw subscribers in a country used to free services including Google’s YouTube, while paying little for bandwidth via mobile phone plans.Last year, Netflix slashed prices by as much as half in India for subscribers that commit to at least three months. Most of the country’s streaming services, including Apple TV+, Amazon Prime and Disney’s Hotstar have also offered discount deals this year and subscriptions at prices well below those in other markets.Zee5 has begun offering some region-specific packages at 49 rupees a month or 499 rupees a year to attract more viewers, said Katial. That compares with the standard packages at 99 rupees a month or 999 rupees a year.At the same time, Zee5 is planning to add 90-second videos to its platform to meet demand and compete with the likes of Beijing-based ByteDance Inc.’s TikTok, a platform that is growing fast globally among younger users. That effort will start “soon,” Katial said.(Updates with Zee shares in 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from Ragini Saxena.To contact the reporter on this story: P R Sanjai in Mumbai at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sam Nagarajan at email@example.com, Dave McCombsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Ivi.ru, Russia’s largest streaming platform, hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to study options to fund the firm’s growth, according to the firm’s chief executive officer.“These could be private placement, strategic alliances or an IPO,” Oleg Tumanov, Ivi’s founder and CEO, said in an interview in Moscow. “We need funding to produce our own content and keep growing faster than the market.” He declined to elaborate on the amount the service is seeking to raise as no decisions have been taken.Founded in 2010, when most Russians downloaded movies for free on pirate websites, Ivi originally used a combination of advertising and a Netflix-like subscription fee. Now, three quarters of the streaming service’s revenue comes from paying users, Tumanov said, as the market matures following the introduction of measures by the government to fight online piracy. Sales rose 55% last year to almost $100 million.Streaming services ranging from Netflix Inc. to Walt Disney Co. are battling to grow their user numbers globally as customers switch away from traditional television services in favor of watching content on mobile phones and tablets. Ivi is Russia’s largest streaming service with a market share of about 35%, according to researcher TMT Consulting.Its competitors include Okko, co-owned by Russia’s largest lender Sberbank PJSC, billionaire Len Blavatnik-backed Amediateka, local technology giant Yandex NV’s Kinopoisk, Gazprom PJSC-linked Premier, and other services. Netflix, which doesn’t have a local-language service and translates only selected titles, isn’t a dominant player in the country.Goldman Sachs has been successful in doing deals in Russia even amid economic and geopolitical hurdles. Last year, it helped the country’s largest online-recruitment firm HeadHunter Group Plc to sell shares in the U.S. and sold a stake in retailer Familia to TJX Companies Inc. in a private deal. Goldman held shares in both companies. The bank’s spokesperson declined to comment on Ivi.Tumanov denied an earlier Kommersant report that Ivi hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to manage an IPO in the U.S. He said JPMorgan is not involved, and an IPO isn’t the only option being considered. Tiger Global Management, Baring Vostok and Leonid Boguslavsky’s RTP Global are among the investors in the streaming service.To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Neil Callanan at email@example.com, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Hastings co-wrote "No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention" with Erin Meyer, the author of "The Culture Map", detailing how company culture transformed Netflix from a U.S. DVD service to a global streaming pioneer, according to a press release. The book is expected to hit shelves on May 12 and details Hastings' corporate philosophy and set of management principles, as well as stories from his own career.
Netflix announced today that it has acquired "Don't Look Up," a comedy written and directed by Adam McKay, with Jennifer Lawrence attached to star. Netflix has an aggressive timeline in place, with shooting scheduled to start in April, followed by a planned release later this year. While McKay started his career as a "Saturday Night Live" writer and then the director of Will Ferrell comedies like "Anchorman" (he and Ferrell also co-founded Funny or Die), the focus of his recent work has shifted to business and politics.
We break down Roku's Q4 2019 financial results. And see what to expect from the streaming TV firm to decide if investors should consider buying Roku stock on the dip, with Disney, Netflix, and others all set to expand their customer base?