|Bid||380.01 x 1100|
|Ask||380.70 x 1800|
|Day's range||379.44 - 385.15|
|52-week range||252.28 - 385.99|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.48|
|PE ratio (TTM)||92.11|
|Earnings date||13 Apr 2020 - 19 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||362.74|
(Bloomberg) -- Roku Inc. shares fell on Friday, erasing an initial rally that came in the wake of its better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.Analysts were broadly positive on the quarter, the latest to show strong momentum at the video-streaming platform as consumers cut the cord on traditional cable services and move toward services like Netflix or Disney+However, the adjusted loss per share beat expectations by a smaller degree than is typical for the company. In addition, some firms expressed concern over the stock’s valuation following a recent surge, and said the Ebitda guidance looked light.Shares fell 7.8% after earlier spiking as much as 8.7%. The stock remains down more than 20% from a record close, though it has risen more than 30% off a September low, and it remains up more than 300% from the start of 2019.Here’s what analysts are saying about the results:Macquarie Research, Tim NollenThe outlook “is a bit below our admittedly bullish estimates,” given more investment costs and “a more measured international roll-out” than expected.Expects a full-year loss of $1.33 a share, compared with a prior view of a loss of 38 cents a share.Outperform, $170 price target.Loop Capital Markets, Alan Gould“While the company has executed well, it still faces substantial potential competition.” It is “difficult to justify the $18 billion enterprise value.”Sell, $80 price target.SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Matthew ThorntonActive account additions “were well ahead of consensus,” which is likely due in part to Disney+. However, the Ebitda outlook “is well below consensus,” and competing platforms could pressure Roku’s margins.“Roku continues to execute and is well-placed in the secular shift to internet TV.”Hold, $160 price target.Rosenblatt Securities, Mark ZgutowiczThis was a “generally stellar quarter,” and the outlook underscores Roku’s “widening scale and market leverage.”Sees signs of “meaningful” international growth ahead.Buy, price target raised to $190 from $159.RBC Capital Markets, Mark MahaneyThe company’s platform business “looks like a sustainable 50% grower.” Fundamentals were “solid” in the quarter, with only a “very modest” deceleration in growth from “robust levels.”Outperform, price target $170 from $160.Stephens, Kyle EvansThe outlook was “in line or above consensus where it mattered most -- revenue and gross margin in its Platform segment.”A “heavy” launch cycle for streaming video on demand services in 2020 and 2021 “is likely to drive [average revenue per user] higher for the foreseeable future.”“Investors wanting exposure to connected T.V. will continue to bid Roku upward.”Overweight, $155 price target.Susquehanna Financial Group, Shyam PatilThe report and outlook “continue to highlight Roku’s strong momentum.” Active accounts rose more than expected, and “engagement growth was also strong.”Positive, price target raised to $170 from $150.Guggenheim, Michael Morris“Roku holds an attractive position within an expanding global steaming market and ultimately has the potential for a higher valuation.”Buy, $150 price target.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:Roku is “still well-positioned to benefit from the secular shift away from traditional pay-TV, as the company reinforced its position as the No. 1 TV streaming platform in the U.S.”\- Analyst Amine Bensaid\- Click here for the research(Updates with afternoon trading, adds Macquarie comments)To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at email@example.com, Scott Schnipper, Steven FrommFor 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.
As the streaming battles heat up, Netflix is hoping a new partnership with Samsung will help it fend off rivals. At Samsung's Unpacked event this week, the mobile device maker announced a deal with Netflix that will bring to its Galaxy smartphones special bonus content associated with several Netflix original shows. The partnership also allows Netflix to more deeply integrate its streaming service with Samsung devices.
Netflix is looking to get young adults hooked on its service by making its popular teenage rom-com, "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," available to stream for free to everyone in the U.S., including non-subscribers. This isn't the first time Netflix has offered free streaming -- it teased Brits last year by offering an episode of "The Crown" for free, and has run similar tests in markets like India and parts of South America. The offer of a free Netflix movie comes at a critical time for the service.
Alibaba, NETGEAR, Netflix, The Walt Disney Company and Sony highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day
(Bloomberg) -- On a day when Samsung Electronics Co. announced four new high-spec smartphones, the company also signaled how it intends to compete with Apple Inc.’s iOS ecosystem through software partnerships.The new Galaxy S20 devices will feature deep integration of Netflix Inc., allowing users to search for movies by voice queries to the Bixby digital assistant. Bixby’s morning routines will also include Spotify Technology SA music streaming, and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Game Studios will debut its Forza Street title on Samsung’s Galaxy Store for apps.“It’s been amazing to see Samsung continuously push the limits of what’s possible,” said Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s Android chief. Google’s operating system has been helped by and risen in parallel to Samsung’s emergence as the world’s most prolific smartphone maker.Rival Apple is on a mission to develop its own content such as Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade, a set of in-house subscription services that the company is spending lavishly on to make it a success. Each of them benefits from its hundreds of millions of iPhones already in users’ hands and they help enhance and strengthen the company’s protected ecosystem.Samsung has made similar efforts, such as its Samsung Milk music service, and repeatedly failed. Its chronic problem in competing with Apple has been the absence of unique and differentiated experiences -- an iPhone owner has access to Netflix and Spotify as well as to the Apple-exclusive iOS services.The partnerships announced alongside the flashy new Galaxy phones “will be critical if the company is to elevate itself beyond hardware, diversify revenue and level the playing field with Apple,” said Ben Wood of CCS Insight.Analysts now believe Samsung is on the right track by looking to deepen collaboration with content distributors threatened by Apple’s strategy. “It hasn’t been proven to work yet, but it’s a much better strategy than Samsung trying to compete in content and enterprise apps itself,” said Avi Greengart, mobile industry analyst at Techsponential. “The cost and risk of trying to recreate Spotify, Netflix, Office or xCloud is astronomical.”IDC analyst Raquel de Condado Marques liked the synergy between Samsung’s newly upgraded hardware and service partnerships, especially in gaming. With faster mobile internet speeds and better displays, “Samsung is leveraging what it does best -- hardware -- and allowing new partners to do the same by relying on Microsoft’s PC installed base and Xbox gaming heritage to provide a more complete platform across different technologies.”Microsoft is developing its xCloud game-streaming service, a rival to Google Stadia, which will let people experience desktop-like graphics and sophistication on their mobile devices. Netflix has a whole set of criteria as to what makes a Netflix Recommended TV, which it uses to incentivize electronics makers to present its content in the best possible form. Both companies can benefit from having a role-model mobile hardware platform, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S20 family, to demo their best mobile offerings and to direct other manufacturers to emulate.Microsoft Bets on South Korea as Test Bed for 5G Cloud GamingNot all are convinced by Samsung’s approach to tie-ups. “There was no shortage of big names,” said Wood of CCS Insight. “But the partnerships appeared to hold limited potential to build a deep services ecosystem.”Still, the South Korean tech giant is a powerful draw. “Samsung -- like Apple and Huawei -- has its own center of gravity,” said Techsponential’s Greengart, adding that it’s capable of commanding attention through its events and products. That makes it an appealing partner for other big industry names and gives the company some assurance that it won’t succumb to the same fate that other pure hardware vendors, such as HTC Corp.’s smartphone business, have fallen prey to in the past.To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum MurphyFor 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.
This week, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, a South Korean masterpiece, became the first foreign language film to earn the industry’s top prize. Parasite is a bellwether of an arguably greater change, propelled by translation algorithms and an unsustainable war among rival TV streaming services. Each media earnings announcement from Hollywood and Silicon Valley highlights the ferocious competition among Disney+, Hulu, Alphabet’s YouTube TV and AT&T’s WarnerMedia; the investment needed to compete with Netflix (167m global subscribers) and Amazon Prime (150m subscribers) also becomes evident.
(Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. is starting a new decade with a new chief in charge of its mobile business, but it’s doing it in the same old fashion: by leaning into its semiconductor advantage to overwhelm consumers with unmatched specs on its latest Galaxy devices.Announced at simultaneous events in San Francisco and London on Tuesday, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 family of Android phones has a 6.9-inch Ultra model with four cameras on the rear — which include a 108-megapixel sensor as well as 100x zoom — 16GB of memory, a huge battery and an eye-watering $1,399.99 starting price. At a time when Apple Inc. is looking to make iPhones more affordable, the cheapest Galaxy S20 costs $999.99 and still has 12GB of RAM and 5G wireless networking.At the same Galaxy Unpacked galas, Samsung also made official its Galaxy Z Flip foldable phone, which represents the company’s more compact and attainable offering from its future-facing foldable device portfolio.The S20 series come in three sizes, with the Galaxy S20 measuring in at 6.2 inches, the S20+ at 6.7 inches and the S20 Ultra at a sliver under 7 inches diagonally. All have 5G and 120Hz displays, which — like Apple’s iPad Pro — means they’re capable of smoother and prettier animations. The two specs complement one another, as 5G promises to bring more and better streaming content and the display will take full advantage by making it look as good as possible, whether it’s for gaming or movies.The non-Ultra models step the cameras down to 64 megapixels of maximum resolution and 30x max zoom, which are still vastly higher numbers than anything Apple or most other smartphone rivals are able to offer.Samsung’s continuing with the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor tech in its S20 generation that proved problematic in 2019 when it was shown it could create a security vulnerability, which the company had to quickly fix.“I think Samsung is ahead of the smartphone competition when it comes to certain types of hardware innovation,” said Cliff Maldonado, a senior analyst at BayStreet Research in San Francisco. Still, Samsung “lacks ownership of its own software” and “struggles to match the user experience” of Apple’s products, he said.Rather than building up a closed ecosystem like Apple’s iOS, Samsung is looking to collaborate with partners. Its Bixby voice assistant will integrate Spotify into its morning routines, the YouTube app will support 8K video uploads from S20 devices, Netflix Inc. is integrating its service more deeply into Samsung’s interface, and Microsoft Corp. will debut its Forza Street game on mobile inside Samsung’s Galaxy Store.Alongside the S20 update, Samsung is releasing its upgraded Galaxy Buds+ wireless earphones, whose biggest improvement is an 11-hour battery life in the earpieces with another 11 hours in the provided carry case. They’ll be part of what Samsung calls curated bundles with the new phones, and pre-order customers in the U.S. will get between $100 and $200 of credit toward building their own ecosystem of Galaxy devices. Pre-orders open on Feb. 21 and run through Mar. 6, the Galaxy S20 series’ release date in the country.Ahead of Samsung’s unveiling, Counterpoint Research projected that shipments of the S20 series will rise to more than 40 million units for the year, improving on the predecessor S10 family’s 36 million units thanks to the headline camera and 5G upgrades. For the foldable phone, shipments of the Galaxy Z Flip are expected to be around 2 million this year, the researchers said.“Foldable phones have a lot of merit that consumers don’t realize yet,” said Sujeong Lim, analyst at Counterpoint in Seoul. “We have done focus group interviews and more than 70% of users who were indifferent changed their opinion once they used one for a day or two."Samsung’s effort to develop new categories and spur demand in the plateaued smartphone industry will be driven by Taemoon Roh, a person who’s engineered the Galaxy empire behind the scenes from its outset. “It’s our responsibility and opportunity to shape the next ten years of mobile innovation, starting right now at Unpacked,” Roh wrote in a blog post ahead of the event. “No company is better suited to take on this massive challenge than Samsung.” \--With assistance from Vlad Savov.To contact the authors of this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.comMark Gurman in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nate Lanxon at email@example.comFor 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.
Can't afford Netflix and HBO and Spotify and Disney+? It's called Jam, and the questionably legal service launched in private beta this morning. In his first interview about Jam, founder John Backus tells TechCrunch it will let users save login details with local encryption, add friends you can then authorize to access your password for a chosen service and broadcast to friends which of your subscriptions have room for people to piggyback on.
Netflix’s prized Martin Scorsese-directed crime drama “The Irishman” went from being the platform’s strongest award show contender to ending the night with zero recognition.
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. has tapped Sony Corp. executive Mike Hopkins to lead its studios division and Prime Video, the company confirmed on Monday.Amazon’s original film and television content units previously reported to Jeff Blackburn, a longtime Amazon executive who last year announced plans to step back for what the company described as a yearlong sabbatical. In addition to Amazon Studios, Blackburn also oversaw Amazon’s music streaming service, business development and advertising units.Hopkins will report to Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, but will have a narrower remit than Blackburn. Jennifer Salke, a former NBC executive hired in 2018 to lead Amazon’s studios, and Greg Hart, chief of the Prime Video streaming service, will report to Hopkins.Amazon’s push into filmed entertainment is one of the company’s biggest bets, a wager that exclusive content will keep Prime members happy and entice new ones. Amazon Studios has a reputation for well-reviewed shows, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Fleabag,” but has yet to produce a cultural sensation on the order of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” or HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Amazon in 2017 spent some $250 million on the rights to turn “The Lord of the Rings” into a TV program.The company doesn’t break out viewership numbers for its shows and doesn’t say how many of the more than 150 million worldwide Prime members watch the video service. But Prime Video is thought to be one of the biggest streaming services and the only one currently competing with Netflix on a global basis. Amazon spent $7.8 billion on video and music content and digital subscription services last year, up 16% from 2018.Hopkins, chairman of Sony Pictures Television, also previously ran the Hulu streaming service. He plans to join Amazon later this month, an Amazon spokesman said.Hopkins’s hire was reported earlier by the Los Angeles Times.(Updates throughout with background on Amazon Studios, Hopkins’ role, start date.)To contact the reporters on this story: Matt Day in Seattle at firstname.lastname@example.org;Lucas Shaw in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at firstname.lastname@example.org, Matt DayFor 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.
China's BYD is embracing what Fuyao, the subject of Oscar-winning documentary "American Factory," resists.
(Bloomberg) -- The South Korean comedy “Parasite” captured the Oscar for best picture of 2019, making history as the first foreign language film to win Hollywood’s most-coveted award.Bong Joon-ho, who made the film, was crowned best director Sunday at the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, another first. His film also captured Oscars for best original screenplay and top international picture. The U.S. TV audience for Oscars totaled just 23.6 million viewers, broadcaster ABC said Monday, marking the smallest on record going back to 1974.The victory was a defining moment in the globalization of Hollywood, which had previously favored homegrown films over foreign-language fare. With Asian directors increasingly grabbing the spotlight -- and the region poised to be home to the world’s No. 1 movie market -- “Parasite” is a harbinger for the industry.“I’m ready to drink tonight,” Bong said, when accepting his best director award. The surprise win recalled the 2017 win for “Moonlight,” a little-seen art-house picture. “Parasite” has generated just $35 million in U.S. box-office sales, though it’s collected $165 million in all thanks to foreign markets.“Parasite” explores class differences with the tale of an unemployed family that entrenches itself in the life of a wealthy clan. The win for a foreign film is a break from tradition at a time when the motion picture academy is under fire for failing to diversify its ranks and awards. It’s also a blow for Netflix Inc., which aggressively campaigned for many of the night’s top awards.The victory is certain to add to the windfall for its U.S. distributor Neon and Walt Disney’s streaming service Hulu. Hulu signed a deal with Neon in 2017 to distribute its titles after their theatrical release and expects to begin streaming “Parasite” in April.Neon has since become a player. It was also behind “Honeyland,” which was nominated for two Oscars this year, and “I, Tonya,” which won an Oscar in 2018 for Allison Janney’s performance.“Parasite” continues to play in more than 1,000 U.S. theaters and could expand to more this coming weekend after its big win. It’s also available at Amazon.com at $3.99 for a rental and $14.99 for purchase.The Oscars played out as a showdown between old Hollywood and new. Netflix garnered the most nominations of any studio, with 24, and spent heavily promoting its two best-picture hopefuls this year -- “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman.” Made by Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman” failed to win a single award after being nominated 10 times.Netflix itself grabbed only two Oscars -- for the documentary “American Factory” and for “Marriage Story,” which scored an award for supporting actress Laura Dern.Still, the ceremony was a showcase for new faces -- like Bong and Taika Waititi, who made “Jojo Rabbit” and is part Maori.The academy has been criticized in recent years for the lack of diversity in its ranks and nominations. This year, not a single female was nominated for for directing, and 19 of 20 acting nominations went to to white performers.As a result, diversity became an early topic on stage, starting with the opening number, when actress and singer Janelle Monae called out the lack of female representation. Immediately after, presenters Steve Martin and Chris Rock delivered barbs in an opening exchange that criticized the slow progress.The awards for Bong -- who largely spoke through a translator -- and Waititi provided a counterweight. Waititi won best adapted screenplay for his tale about a German family that hides a Jewish girl in World War II. His father is of Maori descent and he dedicated his award for best adapted screenplay to indigenous children who want to be artists.Other big winners included Sony Corp., which took home four awards, including for costumes in “Little Women” and a best supporting actor prize for Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood.” Joaquin Phoenix took home the top acting prize for his performance in “Joker,” while Renee Zellweger won best actress for her role as Judy Garland in “Judy.”Netflix wasn’t the only streaming service targeting awards. The Amazon.com Inc.-distributed film “Les Miserables” was nominated for one Oscar in the best international feature category. Founder Jeff Bezos looked on from the audience -- and withstood a handful of jokes from Rock about his great wealth and divorce.Oscars Red Carpet Delivers Diversity When Nominations Didn’t“1917,” which was the favorite for best picture, ended up garnering mostly technical Oscars, including statuettes for cinematography, sound mixing and visual effects.The old Hollywood verses new also played out in some of the commercial spots during the show.Quibi, a startup aiming to disrupt how Hollywood operates, ran spots for its service during the awards -- its second high-profile ad, after a Super Bowl commercial last week. Backed by tech veteran Meg Whitman and Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi launches in April with the promise of lavishly produced videos that are less than 10 minutes long.(Updates with TV ratings in second paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Gilblom in Los Angeles at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rob Golum, Linus ChuaFor 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.
An Oscar win can mean millions for an actor’s bank account with stars on average receiving an additional 60% boost in pay, according to Money Nation.
Parasite, the low-budget Korean thriller directed by Bong Joon-ho, swept the biggest prizes at the 92nd Academy Awards, making history for a non-English language film. At the movie industry’s biggest night, Mr Bong said he would “drink until next morning” as he accepted Best Picture, the most coveted award, beating films by Hollywood establishment figures Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino and the might of technology giants such as Netflix. In more than nine decades of the Academy Awards, no movie in a language other than English has ever won the big prize, Best Picture.
Although Netflix received 24 nominations (the most of any studio) at this year's Oscars, its films only ended up winning two awards. Laura Dern was named Best Actress in a Supporting Role for playing Nora, a flashy divorce attorney in "Marriage Story" — the only award that "Marriage Story" won from its six nominations. Netflix's only other Oscar for the evening was for "American Factory," which won the award for Best Documentary Feature.
"Miss Americana," a new Netflix documentary about Taylor Swift, is worth watching if you go in with the right expectations. Darrell was the holdout; he didn't hate the movie or think it was poorly made, but he's much more skeptical about celebrity culture in general and argues that everyone would be better off ignoring celebrities altogether. Instead, we admit to a guarded admiration for Swift and her music, and we enjoyed "Miss Americana" as a window into Swift's world.
(Bloomberg) -- Paul Nolte would never dream of plugging a stock like Tesla Inc. into a client portfolio at his advisory firm, Kingsview Wealth Management in Chicago. Too volatile. But a bearish options flier for his own account after the thing more than doubled in two months? Maybe.The 34-year money management veteran had been noticing double-digit price gaps that he considers hallmarks of shorts getting squeezed. When the forced buying was over, he figured, support would vanish and the shares would plunge. So he teed up $10,000 worth of puts and waited. And watched. And waited. And thought about it. In the end, he couldn’t pull the trigger.“I was playing with fire,” Nolte said by phone. “I’m better off going to a casino and putting it on black. $10,000 can go to zero really fast.”All week Tesla’s been doing that, tempting and taunting the pros, lighting up brokerage phone lines and getting blood pumping like no time since 1999. If the poster children for the market’s plodding march since 2009 were Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc., Elon Musk’s bear-burner has become the standard bearer for what some now expect to be its last and looniest leg.With the stock spiking from $650 to $950 on Monday and Tuesday, Chris Brown, a Tesla short, barely slept. Lunch with colleagues was canceled and breakfast didn’t come till 2 p.m. He thought about buying the stock after the shares breached a chart line at the end of last week, and selling it Monday -- but decided against it. “It was discordant with my fundamental belief.”“When something is going on that is this big and this organized, you sit and watch,” Brown, managing member at Aristides Capital in Toledo, Ohio, said by phone, describing his actions on Monday. “I stared at my computer non-stop, all day.”Tuesday was different. Brown bought a call spread and a few bearish options, priced about half as much as ones betting the rally would keep going. That was the day Tesla plunged 14% into the close. The price of the put contract Brown eyed went from $9 to $12 by the time his order was filled, before soaring to $84. “We ended up making money.”Few were closer to the center of the storm than Dan Ives, a managing director at Wedbush, whose once-bullish price targets were overtaken as Tesla vaulted over $700, $800, $900 in two days. At least 100 investors have called him looking for an edge on a stock that at peak frenzy made Bitcoin feel like a toothpaste maker in terms of buying pressure.What was it like? “Newark Airport,” Ives said. “The chaos around the stock this week was like being in Newark Airport on a Friday night.”Almost $170 billion worth of Tesla shares have traded in five days, three times as much as Apple and five times as much as Microsoft Corp. The stock’s 20-day volatility is nearly twice that of the next bounciest name in the Nasdaq 100, Biogen Inc., which soared 26% this week. Three-quarters of a million trades have been executed since Monday, seven times the number in Boeing Co.“We’re talking about one of the more historic moves in a stock that’s happened over the last decade,” Ives said. “It’s caught the Street by surprise, which is very rare in a market where information is well-known within two seconds of coming out. It’s been out of a Stephen King movie.”Brian Frank sees it differently: Tesla as a harbinger of long-overdue doom, the beginning of the end to the buy-everything ethic that has been making his life miserable as a value investor.Bitcoin is the only other asset that has elicited as many calls, Frank said, maybe 5% of his clients have phone about Tesla. Those all stopped when the shares rolled over on Wednesday, giving up 17%.“That it can happen with something as big and as visible as Tesla - it gives me hope that it’s clear there are bubbles out there,” said Frank, president at Frank Capital Partners in Key Biscayne, Florida. “This is an over-$100 billion company that’s clearly in the old Eiffel Tower pattern, exactly like Bitcoin. And many other bubbles look like that, too.”To contact the reporters on this story: Elena Popina in New York at email@example.com;Vildana Hajric in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at email@example.comFor 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 Daily Crunch is TechCrunch's roundup of our biggest and most important stories. Netflix's autoplay trailers are now optional. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it has internally prototyped an Instagram Partner Program that would let creators earn money by showing advertisements along with their videos.
(Bloomberg) -- “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” had just been released and Keanu Reeves was about to hit the big screen in “Speed” when Marcin Iwinski and high school pal Michal Kicinski launched their video-game company.It was May 1994 and the CD-ROM was still in vogue, so they called their venture CD Projekt and set out to distribute games for the Polish market. They struck deals with developers including Activision and Acclaim Entertainment, translating dialog, instructions and packaging into their native language.A quarter-century later, at Microsoft Corp.’s 2019 Xbox conference in Los Angeles, Reeves shocked the video-game world, appearing onstage to present a demo of CD Projekt’s “Cyberpunk 2077” -- a futuristic, role-playing game in which he’ll appear.Shares of Warsaw-based CD Projekt have surged 43% since the Xbox event in June and more than 1,800% in the past five years, the best performance by far in Poland’s WIG20 Index, putting Iwinski, the 45-year-old co-chief executive officer, on the cusp of becoming a billionaire. He owns 12.6% of the outstanding stock, giving him a net worth of $992 million. Kicinski, who left the company several years ago, has a 10.9% stake worth $847 million.Both could soon join the rapidly growing ranks of video-game billionaires including Sea Ltd. co-founder Gang Ye, who crossed the threshold in November after the Singapore-based company reported that quarterly revenue tripled, as well as Epic Games Inc. founder Tim Sweeney, who brought “Fortnite” to the masses.See also: Fortnite billionaire pledges $100 million for game developersIn its infancy, CD Projekt struggled to make money distributing legal copies of games because Poles preferred to buy cheaper pirated versions on the black market. So Iwinski and Kicinski expanded into e-commerce sales and programming and established the CD Projekt RED gaming studio.In 2007, it introduced “Witcher” -- based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novels -- and turned it into a series of games that draws from Slavic mythology and features a lone medieval warrior, surrounded by strong female characters, battling supernatural beasts. The most recent version, “Witcher 3,” sold tens of millions of copies and brought the studio global acclaim. Netflix recently launched “The Witcher” TV series, and its popularity could further boost game sales.What Our Analysts Say:“CD Projekt is expanding its online game-distribution business and increasing free-to-play titles ahead of promising new releases that will drive EPS growth in 2020 and beyond. Poland’s largest video-game maker is investing in a new first-person, role-playing game, Cyberpunk 2077, that should exceed the lofty heights achieved with Witcher 3.”Matthew Kanterman, Bloomberg IntelligenceSince the launch of ‘Witcher 3’ in 2015, the developer hasn’t released any major game that could drive new sales apart from add-ons or spinoffs from the existing franchise. In contrast with the industry’s giants which have diversified portfolios and a steady stream of new releases, CD Projekt is betting big on a single title.Cyberpunk’s highly anticipated April debut was pushed back to September for its 400 programmers and designers to “test, bug-fix and polish” the company’s next flagship product, according to a Jan. 16 regulatory filing that caused a fleeting drop in CD Projekt’s stock.Cyberpunk is intended to be one of the most technologically advanced productions for current gaming consoles.Ken Rumph, an analyst at Jefferies Financial Group Inc., has said the delay probably won’t inflict lasting damage on the company’s fortunes.“I don’t think it stops Cyberpunk from being the hit of the year,” he told Bloomberg last month.To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Sazonov in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org;Konrad Krasuski in Warsaw at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter Eichenbaum, David ScheerFor 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.
Apple's wearables business is poised to pop, regulators are combining resources to investigate Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT)-owned LinkedIn changes its CEO.