“Netflix CEO Reed Hastings [was] called out by the SEC last year over posting what might have been material information on the company’s performance to an update on his Facebook wall. Shouldn’t that kind of stuff be sent out via regular SEC-friendly channels first? Maybe not, according to a release today by the market regulator. ‘Companies should review the Commission’s existing guidance – it is flexible enough to address questions that arise for companies that choose to communicate through social media, and the guidance does so in a straightforward manner,’ said Lona Nallengara, the Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, in a statement.”
“CBS’ entertainment revenues were up 10 percent in Q2, with much of the credit going to an April licensing deal for streaming video with Netflix (though it was not mentioned by name in the release), which came before last month’s deal with Amazon in a similar arrangement covering CBS’ library titles. Higher retrans dollars and primetime ad growth were also highlighted as the cable networks segment, which includes Showtime and the CBS Sports Network, saw revenues gain 12 percent. About the only poor performer was publishing unit Simon & Schuster, which slipped 3.2 percent as the sale of more profitable digital content was offset by lower print book sales.”
“Netflix continued to post impressive quarterly financial numbers, ending the first quarter 2011 as the largest subscription video service in North America. In the first quarter, Netflix added 3.6 million subscribers, ending the period with more than 23.6 million subscribers in total. That was up 69 percent from the 14 million subscribers it had a year ago. To put that into context: Comcast ended 2010 with 22.8 million pay TV subscribers. While it’s always possible that the cable company could report subscriber additions in the first quarter, it’s unlikely to do so, given its declines over the last several quarters. Most of Netflix’s customer additions came in the U.S., where it added 3.3 million new users to end at 22.8 million subscribers. Internationally, Netflix added an additional 290,000 subs, to bring total international users to 800,000.”
“Sharing the user name and password of any streaming media account is now considered against the law in Tennessee, according to a web entertainment theft bill signed into law yesterday by state Governor Bill Haslam.
The bill makes it a crime for anyone other than account holders to log into services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Rdio, or Rhapsody. It also empowers streaming media companies that identify illegal sharing to contact law enforcement authorities to press charges. So, a college student who gives access of his Netflix streaming account to half the residents in a dormitory can now be punished, according to the bill’s sponsor Gerald McCormick. But while the new bill allows for greater legal penalties, it’s unclear if streaming services will acknowledge the state law over its official terms and conditions.”
“Fox Broadcasting owner News Corp. and ABC owner Disney are contemplating pulling some free content from Hulu, say people familiar with the matter. The media companies are also moving to sell more programs to Hulu competitors that deliver television over the Internet, including Netflix Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.
And in what would be a major shift in direction, Hulu management has discussed recasting Hulu as an online cable operator that would use the Web to send live TV channels and video-on-demand content to subscribers, say people familiar with the talks. The new service, which is still under discussion, would mimic the bundles of channels now sold by cable and satellite operators, the people said.”
Photo courtesy of thms.nl
“Amazon will acquire the remaining shares in the pan-European movie rental and streaming service LoveFilm. Terms have not been disclosed but we believe the valuation was around $312 million. Amazon already owned 42 percent of LoveFilm which acquired Amazon’s DVD rental business in 2008 …
Assuming regulatory approvals are all fine the deal should close in the first quarter of 2011.
In the US, Amazon has a video-on-demand service but now it gets Lovefilm’s presences in the European online video streaming and rental markets of the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. LoveFilm recently expanded to stream into Sony Playstation 3 and Sony and Samsung TVs, Blu-Ray players and other home theatre devices.”