Jeff Bewkes doesn’t fear that his company will be squeezed by Netflix’s growing desire for exclusive programming — a potential issue at Viacom where Netflix says it won’t renew their broad licensing deal at the end of this month. “We thought that would happen,” Bewkes told analysts today. “It’s a good trend for us….We think we’re in the catbird seat.” Time Warner is already selective about the shows it licenses. Execs add that as much as 35% of the revenue from streaming deals it made in Q1 won’t involve Netflix including a “considerable portion” from outside the U.S. “We’re in active negotiations with all of the major players,” Bewkes says. While streaming revenues are meaningful, they’re just part of a much bigger business: Subscription VOD providers last year accounted for more than $350M in Time Warner’s revenues — a figure that execs expect to grow in 2013. That’s still just about 10% of the company’s TV syndication, although it doesn’t include what Bewkes calls “pretty significant” sales from The CW Network, which Time Warner shares with CBS. Bewkes also says that he doubts many pay TV viewers will ditch HBO in favor of Netflix as the streaming service becomes more popular. “These are very complementary things” for people who are willing to pay extra for TV programming, he says.
Shares opened up more than 4% this morning after Philippe Dauman reassured investors that Viacom will continue to generate lots of cash from deals with streaming services — even if its program licensing pact with Netflix expires at the end of this month. “We’re still in discussions with Netflix…and with others,” he told analysts in a conference call. “We’re open to licensing content, some of it on an exclusive basis.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings raised some fears last week when he said that his company would let its current deal with Viacom expire. Netflix is shifting its focus to “exclusive and curated content” as opposed to “non-exclusive, bulk content deals,” he said. The streaming service would be fine without Nickelodeon shows because “with all the recently added fresh programming from Disney, Cartoon Network, Hasbro’s The Hub and DreamWorks Animation, we have a great kids offering.” But Dauman also says that Viacom has little to fear without Netflix — and has “enough visibility” to know that the entertainment company can realize its forecast to see streaming revenues grow 10% this fiscal year.
Netflix‘s latest original series, the comedic drama Orange Is The New Black, will launch on July 11. Like it has done with all of its original series, Netflix will make all 13 episodes of Orange Is The New Black, created/exec produced by Jenji Kohan based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, available at launch. Netflix has been staggering the release of its original series: House Of Cards (February), Hemlock Grove (April) and the upcoming Arrested Development (May) and Orange (July). Produced by Lionsgate TV, Orange Is The New Black follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), whose decade-old relationship with drug-runner Alex (Laura Prepon) results in her arrest and year-long detention in a federal penitentiary.
Analysts expect to hear encouraging news across the board from the barrage of Big Media Q1 earnings reports and conference calls this week and next. But they’ll be listening especially carefully to Viacom on Wednesday. Its shares — which recently hit all-time highs — are down 3.6% since Monday night, when Netflix said that it will let its streaming deal with Viacom expire next month. Netflix says it would rather secure exclusive rights to particular shows instead of broad deals for shows that also appear on other streaming services including Amazon and Hulu. That worries some investors: Viacom has reassured them that all’s well following Nickelodeon‘s ratings dive last year — and backed up its confidence by promising to repurchase $2.5B in stock this year and pay $1 per share in dividends. The question now is whether Viacom can afford to make good on those vows. “Cash, rather than content, remains king,” Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser says this morning. The Netflix news adds to the concerns about Viacom already held by Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger — the company’s toughest critic on Wall Street. “We don’t think Netflix will bid a big sum for the specific programs it wants from Viacom,” he says this AM. “If they were willing to do so, they wouldn’t have gone through this exercise.” Nor does Juenger believe that Amazon will become a white knight. It “has all the leverage. Anything they offer to Viacom is better than nothing.” He adds that it would be “the ultimate irony if Viacom claimed the loss of Netflix would help their linear ratings, given years of arguing the opposite.” Others are more sanguine about Viacom’s prospects.
Listen to (and share) Episode 32 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media, as Deadline executive editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss whether Netflix is about to take off or already has soared as high as it can; what to make of Apple’s massive stock buyback and dividend announcements; and disputes over whether Google Fiber is hurting Time Warner Cable and other competitors, even as Moody’s predicts heavy consolidation ahead for cable providers trying to lock down business clients.
“There has been no decision yet if Season 2 will be released simultaneously like Season 1,” said House Of Cards executive producer Beau Willimon tonight. There has also been no discussion yet if the Netflix series will go on to a Season 3, the showrunner added. And that is all Willimon or star Kevin Spacey (who was emphatic with a “No!” when asked for details about the upcoming season) or anyone else from House Of Cards would say Thursday about the future of the series, which is now filming in Maryland. What they did say was how House Of Cards has set out to change the game and succeed. “What we set out to prove is that the film and TV industry can learn what the music industry failed to learn: Give people what they want when they want it and at a good price and they won’t steal it,” said Spacey on the decision for Netflix to release all 13 episodes of the political drama’s first season. simultaneously when it debuted on the streaming service February 1. It’s a decision that the star/EP thinks has paid off. “Netflix’s recently announced they’ve had 2 million more subscribers, in large part to House Of Cards…they’re making money,” Spacey told TV Academy members tonight at an Emmys “For Your Consideration” panel at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
The better-than-expected Q1 profit and subscriber growth results that Netflix reported last night thrilled investors. But it hasn’t settled the debate among analysts over whether the streaming company is just beginning to soar, or is about to peak. Netflix’s stock price is +135% so far in 2013, including today’s 24% jump to about $216 in late morning trading. Fans say that the Q1 numbers indicate that CEO Reed Hastings’ plan is working, and there’s no telling how far Netflix can go if it becomes a must-have service for people who want to stream TV shows and movies in the U.S. and abroad. For example Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible raised his target price this morning to $250 from $190 noting that Netflix’s deals to secure original content “may ultimately discourage competition.” Susquehanna Financial Group’s Vasily Karasyov raised his target to $224 from $107 saying that in summer 2014 Netflix could raise its $7.99 a month subscription price “which will provide additional support to the stock.”
The streaming video company did it again. Netflix shares are up nearly 25% in post-market trading after it reported that Q1 earnings per share came in at 31 cents not including a one-time loss from a debt payment — …
The former King of Cable — who recently agreed to buy more than 27% of Charter Communications – has a bracing warning for companies such as Disney and News Corp that hope to keep raising prices for their sports programming. “You have an unsustainable model,” he told CNBC’s …
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. and PAWTUCKET, R.I., April 11, 2013 — Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS) today announced an expanded agreement making two of the hottest new Hasbro Studios shows, Littlest Pet Shop and Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters, available to Netflix members in the U.S. Kaijudo is available now and Littlest Pet Shop will be available summer 2013.
If, as Eli Roth contends, “people want their horror horrific,” then judging by the six minutes of Hemlock Grove that screened here today, fans of the genre shall not be disappointed. Roth, who exec produces the Netflix original series, was in Cannes this afternoon with star Famke Janssen. He directed the first of 13 episodes which all become available in the U.S. on April 19. The Gothic horror with a Twin Peaks lilt was produced by Gaumont International TV, a division of the French major. Roth called the studio, “director friendly” and joked, “Especially because they’re French, we can say auteur, and not ironically.”
Roth said he’d been looking for a TV project, but was having a hard time cracking the nut. Netflix let him “run wild” with Hemlock Grove which is written by Brian McGreevey and Lee Shipman and based on McGreevy’s novel. Network TV “has all these standards” but in horror, Roth contends, “you want to see the sex and the killing and the violence. What’s great about Netflix and Gaumont is you can really push the envelope in that direction.” Roth he was aiming for something “beautiful and horrific,” especially in showing how one character transforms into a werewolf, that “would really fuck up an entire generation.”
Emmy-winning comedy Arrested Development will premiere new originals on Sunday, May 26, on Netflix. All episodes from the show’s upcoming fourth season will be available simultaneously on the launch date, a strategy Netflix has used for all of its original series, most recently the first season of House Of Cards. As for the size of Arrested Development‘s fourth season, it keeps growing, with the final number now set at 15 episodes. As we reported in December, during production on the originally commissioned 10 new episodes, Arrested creator/executive producer Mitch Hurwitz shot more material than planned and also came up with ideas for additional scenes and storylines. Hurwitz and Arrested producers 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV approached Netflix, which agreed to expand the order. In January, Netflix announced that a 14-episode fourth season of Arrested will premiere sometime in May.
The stock is down about 5.7% this morning, apparently because a group of investors who follow technical metrics fear that the Netfllix rally has peaked. Shares are up more than 80% so far in 2013, mostly due to the …