|Bid||357.37 x 900|
|Ask||358.83 x 900|
|Day's range||353.00 - 368.52|
|52-week range||252.28 - 393.52|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.23|
|PE ratio (TTM)||86.47|
|Earnings date||20 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||366.74|
What better time to start a new streaming service than in the middle of a global crisis that has forced millions of people to hunker down at home? Quibi, from Jeffrey Katzenberg and former eBay boss Meg Whitman, is due to launch on April 6. At $4.99, its cheapest payment option is more affordable than Netflix but the same monthly price as Apple TV+, which offers long TV series without advertising and is free for one year with the purchase of Apple hardware.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- “Oh, I like HER,” she says, referring to a berry-toned lipstick. Sarah Hyland, the 29-year-old funny actress best known for playing Haley Dunphy on ABC’s “Modern Family,” is trying on makeup for an Instagram Live audience while at home riding out the pandemic, seemingly as bored as the rest of us. It’s by no means a production: just Hyland in front of her cell phone, using an in-app filter that gives her eyeliner and oversize lashes, sitting at what looks to be a desk, weeding out her cosmetics collection.I don’t know why I’m watching. “Why am I watching this?,” one of her thousands of other viewers suddenly posts in the scrolling comments, as if from my thoughts to that person’s fingertips. Having our normal daily lives upended by the coronavirus has heightened the demand for entertainment — and not just Netflix. We’re looking for content that provides some semblance of human connection, intermittent LOL moments to briefly escape reality. As Kevin Roose put it in the New York Times last week, “The virus is forcing us to use the internet as it was always meant to be used.”There’s also something comforting about seeing celebrities going through the same thing as everyone else, flattening the societal hierarchy so that their feeds run alongside that of our own friends and families. Social media is a place for wholesale interaction, whether it be through memes, amateur TikTok dances, silly Snapchat snaps, Instagram boomerangs of the night’s meal or photos of the view outside, where we all suddenly wish we could be. It’s just enough pleasant distraction; we don’t have to commit our full attention to a 45-minute TV episode, especially when there’s already too much lonely, idle couch viewing happening because of the shelter-in-place orders.Kantar, a consumer research firm, is finding that as countries move deeper into the pandemic, TV viewing and social media engagement both rise by more than 60%. (At that rate, we could quickly grow bored with apps like Netflix and Disney+.) The U.S. may still be in the relatively early stages, but in Italy, one of the hardest-hit countries, Facebook Inc. said that Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week. That yearning for connection is giving more adults a window into why younger people are so amused with watching their peers and celebrities just going about their lives — even when they appear to be doing nothing special at all. George Costanza would love it: videos about nothing.View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib) on Mar 20, 2020 at 12:31am PDTBut if that is what’s missing from Netflix and other TV, could it be that someday it’s not? Perhaps the future of streaming is to aggregate both studio-produced content and user-generated content in a way that allows you to seamlessly scroll between both. That’s how we’re starting to use entertainment, but that’s not yet how it’s delivered to us. Facebook Watch is a step toward the idea, though it has a long way to go. And Google’s YouTube is more of a video-search platform than a sit-back-and-stream service (notwithstanding its YouTube TV subscription for live programming).Quibi, a streaming app launching April 6, borrows from the brevity of user-generated social content, but leaves out the human-connection aspect. It’s the brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, a pair of Hollywood and tech old timers, who say the name is short for “quick bites” (though it’s pronounced “qwih-bee”). All of its programs will have episodes that are 10 minutes long or less. Plenty have scoffed at the idea of Quibi trying to get 25- to 35-year-olds to pay $5 a month for an app with bite-size content that still contains ad interruptions. Yet, Katzenberg and Whitman have managed to raise nearly $2 billion for the service and have struck production deals with major studios and entertainers, including Chrissy Teigen and actress Sophie Turner.Social media used to be something college kids did on their laptops, separate from TV time. Now we all do it on our phones, often while the TV is playing. It shows that what’s missing from Netflix, Disney+ and all the other emerging streaming ecosystems is the ability to connect with one another. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The broadband sector could become a safe haven for investors looking to store cash in the event of a financial crisis.Demand for internet access will be recession-proof, if history is an indicator. A Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis from 2009 to 2010 showed total household spending declined year-over-year while computer information and cable services spending increased. That may be even more the case now amid the coronavirus outbreak, as many Americans are working remotely from home and relying on streaming services like Netflix Inc. for entertainment.“The criticality of broadband has increased since the global financial crisis,” Gregory Williams, an analyst covering cable and satellite services at Cowen, said in a note to clients. It’s “now considered a fairly price inelastic utility-like necessity.”AT&T Inc., Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Altice USA Inc. are among the long list of potential benefactors providing internet-based services across the U.S. Pure-play businesses like Charter are seen best positioned for upside. Shares of the Stamford, Connecticut-based company have fallen just 8% since the beginning of the year, compared to a 20% decline in the S&P 500 Index.Michael McKenzie, managing director of private investment firm Grain Management, said that broadband connections grew 15% from 2008 to 2009. While there’s no guarantee that will happen this time, the sector is likely to fare better than cable or entertainment peers as consumers look to cut discretionary spending.“I think it’s highly unlikely that [broadband connectivity] declines in a recession,” McKenzie said in an interview. It “should be a safe bet” given its historic stability, he said.McKenzie said there may be some “depressed” spending in certain sectors like hospitality. But in general, stocks linked to mobile network operators and tower owners will “tend to benefit from what we see coming out of this crisis.”(Corrects broadband connection growth in fifth paragraph.)For 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.
Netflix (NFLX) downgrades video streaming quality in India followed by Amazon, YouTube among others in an attempt to lower network traffic amid Covid-19 outbreak.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If the world were ending, I’m convinced that all that would be left are cockroaches and the cable giants. Things aren’t quite that bad, but they aren’t good either. And yet, as the coronavirus pandemic sends the U.S. into a recession, Brian Roberts may have reason to be among the least worried from his perch at Comcast Corp., the Roberts’s $150 billion family business. On Tuesday, Comcast submitted a regulatory filing alerting investors that the coronavirus pandemic “could have a material adverse impact” on operational results and that management isn’t sure to what extent or for how long. Like Walt Disney Co., Comcast had to close all of its Universal theme parks in Florida, California and Japan. Its Universal Pictures studio has had to delay movies that were set to be released soon in theaters, including pushing back “F9,” the latest installment of its money-making “Fast and the Furious” franchise, to April of next year. TV and film production all across Hollywood is also at a halt. Then there’s the big cheese: the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee and Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, where the 2020 summer games were set to be held, agreed to postpone the event for about a year. It’s a blow both to Comcast’s NBC network, which was set to broadcast the Olympics for U.S. viewers, and to Discovery Inc., which had secured the TV rights in Europe. NBCUniversal had already sold most of its advertising space for the event, more than $1 billion that the business will no longer see this year. It’s also a downer for NBCUniversal’s upcoming launch of Peacock, an ad-supported streaming-TV service that was going to feature coverage of the Tokyo Olympics in a bid to attract subscribers. Still, even as the coronavirus is rippling through Comcast’s NBCUniversal operations, they represent a relatively small portion of the company’s overall profits. Nearly 70% of last year’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — about $23 billion — came instead from Comcast’s cable group. And increasingly, cable revenues are generated by the more dependable internet side of the business than the shrinking pay-TV side.Comcast added 1.4 million high-speed internet customers in 2019, mostly residential. That outpaced the 733,000 video customers it lost during the year. It’s how Comcast has maintained a grip on subscribers even as more of them turn to streaming apps such as Netflix. As recently as 2017, triple-play subscribers were the majority, paying for internet, TV and landline phone service; now a greater portion have just internet. That makes the “cord-cutting” trend a bit of a misnomer. Comcast and other cable giants are still very much present in our homes because you still need internet access to stream. A reliable connection is also more important than ever as Americans shelter in place, trying to work and study remotely, often with a single household using multiples devices at once. What’s more, Roberts, the chairman and CEO of Comcast, told investors during a conference earlier this month that the company is insured against its expenses tied to the Olympics. So while there’s no profit to be made from an event that doesn’t happen, there won’t be losses either. Matthew Harrigan, an analyst for Benchmark & Co., lowered his forecast for NBC broadcast sales to $10.3 billion, which is still a more than 1 percent increase from last year. He sees revenue for Comcast overall only slightly down for the year, with Ebitda falling 7%, in part due to costly upfront investments in the Peacock app. A recession could drive more people to ditch expensive pay-TV packages and cause advertisers to cut their budgets. That wouldn’t be good for either side of Comcast. But for now, Comcast’s bread-and-butter cable business is providing good insulation.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tara Lachapelle is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the business of entertainment and telecommunications, as well as broader deals. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Work-from-home neophytes are providing some much needed moments of levity right now. The Italian priest livestreaming mass with cat’s ears and whiskers accidentally superimposed on his head. The woman who failed to switch her camera off when she took a bathroom break during a conference call. Children and pets generally making a nuisance of themselves. Even if staged, they warrant a chuckle.The laughter, however, doesn’t resolve the difficulties that many are experiencing as millions more people head into self-isolation and log on from home. For all of the telecommunications operators’ assertions that their networks can cope with the peak loads, there are still things you can do to reduce the likelihood of dropped calls or spotty connections. More than that, the small changes you make can lessen the load on telecoms networks more broadly.Britain’s regulator Ofcom on Tuesday proffered advice on how best to stay connected during Covid-19 self-isolation. It’s well worth reading in its entirety, but top of the list was using your landline or Wi-Fi when possible, rather than a mobile connection. Because most of the top video-calling apps are made by U.S. firms, they’re built for users with ready access to high-speed mobile connections, since unlimited data plans are more common there than in Europe or Asia, according to Nick McQuire, head of enterprise research at market intelligence firm CCS Insight.He says the app conferencing companies have neglected the issue of bandwidth optimization in general. As rising numbers of people use video calls — not just for work, but family visits with the grandparents, third-grade art class and virtual happy hours — those problems risk being highlighted. That’s one reason why Ofcom is encouraging the use of landlines. Spikes in network usage mean operators are having to lean on more and more servers to manage the load than usual, Italian data from network analysis firm Tutela Technologies Ltd. show.In the age of Covid-19, video conferencing is an important channel for maintaining social contact, but some products are easier on the network than others. Stuck at home like many others in London, I carried out a series of tests to see how much data each of the most popular apps required for the same calls, as scientifically as I could given the circumstances. On average, Zoom Video Communications Inc.’s eponymous service and Google Inc.’s Hangouts used more than twice as much data as Apple Inc.’s FaceTime or Cisco Systems Inc.’s Webex.To use FaceTime, though, the participants all need an Apple device — not a given when a top-of-the-range iPhone starts at $1,000. And Webex isn’t exactly easy to use, as my girlfriend grumbled while she helped me test: “The setup for this is definitely the worst.” With Zoom, the data requirements dropped significantly when we tried it around 5 p.m., when usage seems to peak — it appeared to throttle its needs as network capacity became limited.At times it might actually be better to use the mobile network instead of Wi-Fi, according to data from Tutela. Since Italy went into full lockdown on March 12th, the mobile network has on average provided a better quality of service(1) until about 2 p.m., after which Wi-Fi connections have given a more reliable connection. That differs by country, of course, but the trend elsewhere is similar. On March 24th, the first day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined stricter self-isolation measures, the U.K.’s mobile networks provided better service until about 9 a.m., after which the Wi-Fi was again more reliable.It’s not all about work, of course. There’s been a massive leap in the demands imposed on the network by online gaming. In the week from March 9th, gaming data usage jumped 75% in the U.S., Verizon Communications Inc. said last week. It’s far better to avoid network gaming if you can. And if you plan to park the kids in front of one or more films during the day, think about downloading them overnight rather than streaming them real time.Netflix Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Amazon.com Inc. and Walt Disney Co. are already reducing their streaming services’ bandwidth consumption in Europe to alleviate the load on the region’s networks. Using video conferencing smartly could not only make your calls more reliable, but also preempt any limitations being imposed on that technology.And for goodness sake, if you’re on a conference call and not talking, make sure you mute yourself. You know who you are.(1) Tutela considers the test to pass the Excellent Consistent Quality thresholds if it meets all the following criteria: 5 Mbps or greater download speed 1.5 Mbps or greater upload speed 50ms or less one-way latency 30ms or less jitter 1% or less packet lossThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
With European countries in increasingly tight lockdown and New York at a standstill, the world’s major theatrical centres have essentially ground to a halt. The past decade has seen a technological revolution. In addition to globally popular cinema broadcasts conducted by the likes of NT Live (from the National Theatre in London), various companies have vied to corner the market in online drama streaming, both live and as-live.
Netflix is currently experiencing outages around the world, but affecting mostly users in the United States and Europe. According to Down Detector, users began reporting issues around 12 PM Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, and many people are still unable to connect to the streaming service on different platforms, including mobile, PCs and smart TVs. Many people around the world are relying on Netflix for entertainment while under lockdown or quarantine measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve could now have as much as $4.5 trillion to keep credit flowing. Spain has its deadliest day yet. And central banks are looking to Japan for lessons on rolling out quantitative easing. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today. Anti-Virus StimulusThe Federal Reserve could now have as much as $4.5 trillion to keep credit flowing and make direct loans to U.S. businesses through the massive coronavirus stimulus bill being considered by U.S. lawmakers. The bipartisan agreement, which still needs to be passed by the Senate and House and signed into law by President Donald Trump, will include $454 billion in funds for the Treasury to backstop emergency actions by the Fed to support the U.S. economy, Senator Patrick Toomey said on Wednesday. The central bank will work with the U.S. Treasury to use that money as a backstop against credit risk as it supports markets for corporate and short-term state and local debt, while also loaning directly to businesses. Its lending facilities have typically required a loss-absorbing cushion of around 10% from the Treasury to protect it from loans that don’t get paid back. Congress’s stimulus package, meanwhile, keeps meeting snags. A dispute in the Senate over expanded unemployment benefits for lower wage workers is threatening to delay passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package as several Republicans demanded changes. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders said he would hold up a vote if the legislation is altered.Markets Mixed Stocks in Asia were poised for a mixed start, following the first back-to-back gains for global equities since mid-February, as negotiations in Congress continued toward a vote on the U.S. stimulus bill later this week. Earlier, the S&P 500 ended about 1% higher after a rally of more than 5% fizzled amid a dispute in the Senate. Futures in Japan slipped, while contracts gained in Hong Kong and Australia. Republican senators raised objections to the unemployment benefits section of the stimulus bill, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders threatened to hold up the legislation unless those objections were dropped. The dollar declined for a second day against its major peers. Treasuries edged lower. Elsewhere, gold drifted lower after a squeeze of historic proportions pushed its prices to the biggest one-day gain since November 2008 on Tuesday. The closing of refineries and demand for physical gold had caused a disconnect between prices in London and New York. Just Like JapanAs central banks around the world reignite quantitative easing programs or adopt them for the first time, Japan’s key focus of controlling bond yields rather than a quota of purchases is being explored. When the Reserve Bank of Australia broke the emergency glass on March 19, it set a target for the yield on three-year Australian government bonds of around 0.25%, in line with its benchmark policy rate that was lowered to this level. The advantage of targeting a yield rather than promising to buy a specific amount of bonds is the greater flexibility it allows monetary authorities. If bond markets behave and yields fall into line with the targets, the program can be easier to manage with fewer purchases needed. That’s an approach the BOJ adopted in late 2016 — it targets a 10-year yield around zero — after its earlier QE program appeared on an unsustainable path given the huge volume of bond buying and resulting market distortions that were involved. Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard has floated the prospect for yield curve control in the U.S. recently too. Here’s what central banks should be considering.Virus SpreadAs the virus’s spread expands, here’s the latest on how countries are coping. Spain had its deadliest day yet, while in Britain, the government moved to shut Parliament and Prince Charles tested positive. European Union leaders inched toward a rescue package. Germany unleashed a historic bailout. Russian President Vladimir Putin even postponed a public vote on constitutional changes next month that would allow him to rule to 2036. In the U.S. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said the stimulus package working its way through Congress is inadequate. He also restricted access to a malaria drug that President Donald Trump has touted as a treatment for the novel coronavirus. In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, echoing Trump, urged the country to resume normal life to protect the economy. That may be too late for Thailand, which faces its biggest economic contraction since the Asian crisis. Singapore reported its biggest daily jump in new cases. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump said he would stop using the “China virus” label to deescalate the blame game with Beijing.Balancing ActAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is trying to thread the needle as he battles to save the country’s economy and contain a health crisis as coronavirus cases surge. As leaders the world over are discovering, something may have to give. The conservative leader’s response to the outbreak so far appears to fall somewhere between the total lockdowns announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and India’s Narendra Modi, and that of U.S. President Donald Trump, who says he wants his economy re-opened by Easter despite warnings that would create a human catastrophe. He’s faced criticism from some who believe the government is over-reacting and from those who want more stringent controls. Confirmed cases have surged five-fold in the past week to more than 2,400, while thousands have already lost their jobs — sending waves of newly unemployed into long queues outside welfare agencies nationwide. Meanwhile, here’s how the virus is impacting Australian firms’ guidance. What We’ve Been ReadingThis is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.Wall Street bonuses could fall 40% this year. The Olympics delay means the $12 billion games just got a whole lot more expensive. Amazon and Walmart are struggling to cope as India enters lockdown. Desperate airlines are switching passengers for cargo to stay alive. Netflix has reduced its video quality in more countries to handle the “stay at home” surge. SoftBank blasts Moody’s for “biased” ratings downgrade. A gaming boom is hiding the industry’s struggle to develop new titles.For 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.
Streaming services have cut back in some parts of the world as Internet usage has been spiking. However, the U.S. infrastructure has been able to support the incremental load.
Streaming services like Disney+ are getting a boost as Americans stay home. That's also benefiting Hasbro's toy sales, and Baby Yoda in particular.
(Bloomberg) -- Video-game fans suddenly have their pick of a huge menu of titles thanks to a raft of new mobile subscription services from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Nvidia Corp.But for the more than 1 billion users of Apple’s iPhone and iPad, the only real option is Arcade, the subscription service launched by the company in September.That's because Apple imposes strict limits on the kinds of apps users can access on its devices. For example, App Store guidelines ban services that rely on streaming from the cloud. Arcade adheres to the requirements, in part, because it’s included as a feature within the App Store itself. This is the latest example of what critics say are arbitrary rules favoring Apple’s own apps at the expense of similar software from outside developers.“There’s a fraught relationship between developers and Apple precisely because of rules like this,” said David Barnard, a longtime independent developer and advocate at RevenueCat. “In some ways, I am incredibly grateful to their marketplace for helping me make millions of dollars I wouldn’t have made without it. On the flip side, them being so heavy handed at times does kill apps and does cause developers to miss out on other potential revenue.”If software developers want to reach as many consumers as possible, they have to be on Apple’s iOS. The operating system powers more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets and it’s the only way to access the iOS App Store, which accounted for 65% of app spending globally last year, according to Sensor Tower. The Cupertino, California-based company can also make or break mobile gaming businesses: More than half of the $62 billion spent on smartphone gaming last year happened on Apple products.Cloud gaming services, where users stream games live over the internet, are growing in popularity, especially as faster fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks proliferate. The new offerings from Microsoft, Nvidia and Google are cloud streaming-based, while Apple Arcade is not. Those other services are found on the Android operating system, which powers 2.5 billion devices worldwide. Among the popular games found there, and missing from iOS, are Red Dead Redemption 2, Gears of War 5 and Destiny 2.Asked about the challenge of reaching iPhone and iPad users with the chipmaker’s GeForce Now service, an Nvidia spokesperson said: “Ask Apple.” Apple said its “customers enjoy great apps and games from millions of developers and gaming services can absolutely launch on the App Store” if they follow the App Review Guidelines, which means that games have to be submitted individually, allowing them to appear in App Store rankings and search. The company also said it intends to continue building on its relationships with developers and providing a level playing field. “Developers can choose to reach all iPhone and iPad users over the web through Safari and other browsers on the App Store,” Apple said. But currently the new cloud-based gaming streaming services aren’t accessible through web browsers on iPhones and iPads. Whether the restrictions raise antitrust issues is another matter. The policies were in place before the latest gaming services launched, and “I don’t see it cutting one way or the other,” said David Reichenberg, an antitrust lawyer at Cozen O’Connor.Apple said there is strong competition in every category in which it makes its own apps. Arcade, only available on iOS, is $4.99 per month for more than 100 games and is a growing contributor to the company’s services revenue, which is important amid a period of reduced hardware sales growth. At least one gaming subscription offering, GameClub, has managed to get on the App Store. It licensed several old-school games, released them all on the App Store as separate apps under one developer account and offers one $4.99 subscription that works across the apps. Still, it was rejected 127 times by Apple before being approved. “The amount of effort we put into making sure the app played by Apple’s rules was no joke, it was a huge undertaking,” Eli Hodapp, GameClub’s head of business development, said.In February, Microsoft released a beta version of its gaming service, currently dubbed xCloud. It is still in free preview, but is expected to launch later this year as a paid service under the company’s Game Pass brand. A look at the software shows the contortions that it and other Arcade rivals will have to pull off to get on Apple’s system. While Microsoft’s has a catalog of 90 games available on Android, just one, Halo, appears on the iPhone test version. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft and Mountain View, California-based Google declined to comment. No Third-Party Games in ServiceThe Android variant of xCloud lets users choose from multiple games built by different publishers. A version of the app on iOS could only have games either developed or exclusively licensed by Microsoft.Apple outlines this in an App Store rule that says “games offered in a game subscription must be owned or exclusively licensed by the developer.” For example, Microsoft’s iOS service can offer Halo because Microsoft produces that game, but not Ace Combat from Bandai Namco.This restriction prevents game developers from being able to work with game partners already on other platforms. Apple said Arcade complies with all the guidelines. Microsoft makes several of its own games, but Google and Nvidia would only be able to launch if they exclusively licensed third-party titles. Google’s Stadia costs $9.99 per month and new games are added monthly. Nvidia offers free and $4.99 per month subscription tiers, but requires a user to login to a Valve Steam account to access many titles.A related guideline bans the subscription services from carrying over upgrades like levels, extra weapons and characters unless they are also available as an in-app purchase in the App Store. Like many other apps, this gives Apple a 30% cut of revenue from developers, while confusing users who play video games on multiple platforms. It also means more overhead for developers.No Single App with Playable CatalogIf a developer is able to build or license enough games for a service, they would still be prohibited from releasing an all-you-can-eat gaming subscription service on iOS that works inside of a single app.Many games are available to be downloaded individually from their creators, but consumers increasingly like to subscribe to a bundle of games at a lower monthly price — much like they’d subscribe to Apple Music instead of downloading individual songs or sign up for Netflix instead of buying specific movies.The same rule that bars non-exclusive titles requires that “each game must be downloaded directly from the App Store.” This means an app can’t include a catalog of games and must be broken up into separate apps. Apple said the guideline is to prevent games from being added or removed without review. Apple allows catalog apps for magazines, newspapers, music, videos and books."The App Store was created to be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” Apple said. “Before they go on our store, all apps are reviewed against the same set of guidelines that are intended to protect customers and provide a fair and level playing field to developers.”No Cloud StreamingWhile a game developer could feasibly workaround the first few games-related guidelines, Apple’s decision to block games that stream directly from the cloud is an iOS deal-killer for Microsoft’s xCloud, Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce NOW. Apple’s rules state that “thin clients for cloud-based apps are not appropriate for the App Store.” This type of app does little on the device, with most of the action offloaded to remote data centers, much like how Netflix streams movies. In contrast, each Apple Arcade game runs fully on the device without the need to stream data from the cloud.Cloud streaming works on an early test version of Microsoft’s app, but if a full app like that was submitted to the Apple App Store it would probably be rejected. Microsoft’s beta app is available currently to 10,000 users through an Apple testing service called TestFlight, which traditionally follows the same rules as the App Store.Apple says that developers that publish games on the App Store benefit from features like Siri, backups and App Store promotion. Having to build a service without cloud streaming would be a lot more work for traditional game developers and would mean they have to re-create their apps for each platform rather than leverage their existing game libraries. Apple lets devlopers use a technology called remote desktop. This is similar to cloud streaming, but instead of piping in content from a data center, the game is streamed from a Mac, Windows computer, or gaming console. This method comes with a major caveat: users can only stream from a computer or console that they own and the iPhone must be on the same network as the first device. That means you can stream a game in your living room, but not on the bus to work. That has allowed apps like Sony’s PS4 Remote Play and Valve Steam Link. Microsoft xCloud for Android has a similar option for streaming from an Xbox, but the feature is missing from the iPhone. It’s unclear why Microsoft didn’t include it. Major technology companies aren’t the only ones having trouble getting on the App Store. For months, one app from Shadow, a Paris-based cloud gaming developer, appeared to survive Apple’s rules. That changed at the end of February when Shadow’s platform was removed. Shadow relied on streaming games from PCs in a server farm, versus computers owned by users. Shadow said it’s talking to Apple about getting back on the App Store.For 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.
Tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Apple Netflix, and Google — also known as the FAANG stocks — will endure the crisis and some may benefit from it, says Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush.
(Bloomberg) -- Finding a table at Mexico City’s exclusive Pujol restaurant has never been easier.Chef Enrique Olvera’s famous restaurant is still open for business amid the coronavirus pandemic, mainly because the Mexican government hasn’t said it should close. Usually booked for months on end, online reservations website Open Table offers several time slots for every day this week.Pujol ranked 12th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and was the top dining spot in North America in 2019. Olvera, who was profiled in Netflix’s Chef’s Table, also co-owns New York City’s Cosme restaurant.In a bid to support the already struggling Mexican economy, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has shied away from enforcing strict social distancing measures. The wishes of the president known as AMLO, who just this weekend encouraged Mexicans to go out and enjoy meals with their families, are clashing with instructions by some Mexican cities and states, which were left to act on their own, coming up with measures that are at times baffling. Mexico City, for example, shut bars and cinemas but not restaurants.“What we are seeing here is a schism,” said Gladys McCormick, an associate history professor who specializes in Mexico-U.S. relations at Syracuse University in New York. “As communities take matters into their own hands, implementing their own safety protocols and taking the helm of how they each prepare for the coming pandemic, we see a further erosion of the federal government’s authority.”Pujol is putting in place all recommendations from health authorities to prevent contagion in its environment, head of communications Patricia Guerrero said in an email. The restaurant will immediately comply with an eventual decision by authorities ordering restaurants to close, she said.Mexico has 367 confirmed coronavirus cases with four deaths linked to the illness so far.Tourism plays a big role in the Mexican economy and is already suffering effects from the virus. Airlines have had to cut capacity as demand wanes and governments around the world impose strict travel restrictions. Hotel occupancies across the country are expected to plummet during the spring break and Easter vacation period.Mexico’s Already Weak Economy Vulnerable to Virus ShockWith some economists warning activity this year may contract as much as during the Tequila crisis in the mid-90s, Mexico’s central bank cut rates in an unannounced meeting on Friday. The peso has lost 23% of its value in the past month, hit by a combination of slumping oil prices and the likelihood of a recession in the U.S., Mexico’s main trading partner.Empty StreetsWhile Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the decision to leave restaurants open could change in the coming days, locals and visitors aren’t waiting for government orders and have drastically reduced activity in the upscale neighborhoods of Condesa and Roma Norte.Alsea SAB, an operator of several restaurant brands throughout Latin America and Europe has already cut corporate jobs and has set up a program for employees to take unpaid leaves of absence for 30 days, among other measures.As demand wanes, restaurants across the country have set up “Gastronomic Certificates,” where clients give 500 to 1,000 pesos ($20 to $40) to their favorite restaurants to help them weather the crisis and pay staff a little while longer. Other restaurants, including Pujol, are helping their suppliers connect directly with clients through social media, giving them an extra source of income.For those still walking through the door, at least the revered tasting menu at Pujol will cost just $92.50 before drinks, down from $120.60 when the virus-fueled devaluation began.For 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.
(Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co. shares have tumbled amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the sell-off has resulted in a smaller valuation than video-streaming company Netflix Inc., a reflection of what segments of the media ecosystem are favored in an uncertain environment.Thus far this year, Disney shares have dropped more than 40%, compared with a gain of 9.2% in Netflix. Based on their most recent close, these moves have given Netflix a market capitalization of about $158 billion, compared with Disney’s $154.8 billion valuation.This is not the first time the video-streaming giant has eclipsed the Mouse House in size. The last time was in March 2019, when the achievement was short lived. Prior to that, Netflix sustained a larger valuation for a few weeks in mid-2018.Netflix is “a key beneficiary” of the change in behavior the pandemic has prompted, as Baird wrote in a recent upgrade, with the outbreak causing more people to stay at home and stream more video. According to Credit Suisse, Netflix has seen a spike in downloads for its app in regions that have been hit hard by the coronavirus, a trend that could point to higher international demand. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has encouraged most people to stay at home, while states including New York and California have issued social-distancing mandates.While Disney recently launched a streaming service of its own, the company’s more diverse business model has opened it up to multiple risks. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan wrote that the outbreak was “hammering multiple segments” of the company, “with theme parks closed, film releases delayed, sporting events canceled on its TV networks -- most notably ESPN -- and film and TV production halted.”The company’s outlook over the near and medium-term, analyst Geetha Ranganathan wrote, is “under severe pressure.”According to data compiled by Bloomberg, expectations for Disney’s full-year adjusted earnings have dropped by 12.5% over the past month, while revenue expectations are down 1.2%.For 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.
(Bloomberg) -- YouTube will reduce the quality of videos around the world starting Tuesday, an effort by the world’s most popular video site to ease internet traffic during the coronavirus outbreak.Over the coming days, viewers will at first see YouTube videos in standard definition, the company said. Users will still be able to watch in high definition if they want, but will have to choose to do so.YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, is extending a policy it already instituted in Europe, where regulators have asked major streaming services, including Netflix Inc. and Amazon Prime Video, to reduce their bandwidth usage.Use of streaming services has surged in recent weeks as hundreds of millions of people stay home to contain the spread of the virus. While YouTube viewing has historically spiked in the evening when people are off work, consumption is now more steady across the day, the company said.Hollywood Torrent: Will we run out of new TV during Coronavirus?Streaming video requires more internet bandwidth than music, messaging or maps because of the size of the files transmitted. Google was the largest consumer of traffic volume on the internet last year, just ahead of Netflix, according to a study by Sandvine, a network analysis firm. Recently, YouTube traffic has surged even more, Sandvine reported last week.YouTube already limits the quality of video based on the strength of a user’s internet connection. YouTube doesn’t believe the world will run out of internet bandwidth any time soon, but is taking a preemptive measure given growing concerns at the government level.“We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation,” Google said in a statement.For 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.