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Streaming service, Netflix, is about to release its highly anticipated Q3 earnings – will it keep its investors hooked or is it time to change channels? The subscription service is under pressure after a disappointing growth in paid membership subscribers in the second quarter of 2019 – just 2.7 million signed up, way below its 5 million target. Share prices have dropped 30% from the streaming service’s 52-week high of $396 per share and are now standing at $276.58, probably fuelling investor anxiety. Expectations for the third quarter are growth of 7 million memberships, which is 6.1 million higher than the same period in 2018. Netflix is going to need strong results to improve investor confidence, especially as the marketplace is set to become more cluttered with the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV+ services next month.
Despite the streaming services history of over-estimating results, analysts seem to be cautiously optimistic though. In a Thomson Reuters poll of 44 analysts, 30 maintained a buy rating for Netflix ahead of the Q3 results and only three downgraded to sell. Share prices had also climbed 3% today, in the wake of Goldman Sachs maintaining its buy rating, stating it is impressed by the array of new content set to debut in the next quarter. With 40 Netflix originals nominated for 117 Emmy awards, there is no doubt that Netflix is winning at building a compelling content base. Its Stranger Things franchise is also going from strength to strength – 40.7 million watched the latest season within four days of its release, and placement with big brands such as Nike and Coca Cola has generated $15 million within the first three days of release. Netflix still faces challenges though as rivals look to step up their game and content creation and acquisition costs continue to rise. Netflix could be one to watch though – on the stock market as well as the screen.
Streaming services might also be profitable for home-grown media network ITV – its share price has risen 20% since mid-August. ITV and BBC plan to launch a joint venture, subscription service this Autumn which could offer long-term growth potential and an opportunity to grab some of the market share. ITV shares currently sit at 121.75p at the time of writing, and many analysts are expecting it to continue to outperform the market.
In the first half of the year, the TV company saw online revenues increase by 18% and management is expecting a full-year increase of at least 5% for its ITV Studios business. A no-deal Brexit might hit ITV hard in its advertising revenues though, although some have suggested that any end to the current uncertainty will allow companies to plan budgets again. Some have stated that ITV’s financial forecasts for this year and next year are disappointing, as it expects to post flat EPS growth, but the general sentiment is that the media network could weather the storm with its robust strategy to diversify.
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