NBC Exec Not Worried About Netflix: 'People Watch TV The Way God Intended'
One network television station isn't concerned by the rise of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).
"The reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated," said Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development for Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA)'s NBC Universal. AdWeek pointed out that "To make his point, Wurtzel shared data from Symphony Advanced Media."
"Symphony measured the average audience in the 18-to-49 demographic for each episode within 35 days of a new Netflix series premiere between September and December," AdWeek reported. "During that time, Marvel's Jessica Jones averaged 4.8 million viewers in the demographic, comparable to the 18-to-49 ratings for How to Get Away with Murder and Modern Family. Master of None drew 3.9 million in the demo and Narcos was third with 3.2 million."
This is actually the first time that a hint of Netflix's ratings have been released to the public.
Netflix was the top-performing stock in the S&P 500 in 2015. The stock climbed an incredible 134 percent on the year. Shares traded recently in the $106 handle.
Wurtzel said the data revealed that most viewers of these [Subscription Video On Demand] shows return to their old viewing habits by the third week. "[By then], people are watching TV the way that God intended"—that is, via traditional, linear viewing. "The impact goes away."
Wurtzel went on to say that Netflix has "a very different business model—their business model is to make you write a check the next month... I don't believe there's enough stuff on Netflix that is broad enough and consistent enough to affect us in a meaningful way on a consistent basis."
This week, a New York Times column noted that:
"Yet Netflix is still a tiny frigate in the global sea of the content business, and surely it's no threat to the mightiest fleets in the industry. Your castles are safe, right?
"Well, here’s a scarier proposition for you and your fellow media executives to ponder while roasting marshmallows by the fire at Davos next week. What if Netflix is the Amazon of the entertainment industry — the embodiment of a slow, expensive, high-risk effort to consume the entirety of your business?
"The good news for the Davos set is that there are lots of reasons that Netflix’s strategy won’t work. The bad news: So far, it just keeps working.
Netflix recently entered 130 new countries. CEO Reed Hastings said the company is in the process of developing a streaming video service for China -- the largest video market in the world -- but added that a timeline for government approval is uncertain.
Last week, analysts at Argus said, "Costs associated with the ramp-up in original productions, content licensing, and international expansion are likely to pressure margins through 2016 and perhaps into 2017."
Stifel's William Power noted the firm's quarterly U.S. subscriber survey "suggests potentially weaker U.S. subscriber results for the second consecutive quarter, and while international may beat, we believe much of that is priced in."
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