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Week In Review: Wall Street Wallops Netflix, Sinclair STIRR Is A Hit

1. Wall Street Wallops Netflix

Netflix had a bad quarter and Wall Street freaked out, sending the stock down by around 10% (or $16B worth of value)  following an announcement that they’d lost 126,000 US subscribers (or 0.2% of their 60.2 million subs) when they had actually been predicting that they’d wind up with about 250K more. Worse, they only added 2.8 million subscribers overseas, when they’d been hoping to score closer to 5 million.

Why It Matters

Wall Street, which suddenly woke up to the impending Flixcopalypse a few weeks back when Warner took back Friends and NBCU took back The Office, has never really understood the media industry and many Wall Streeters assume that just because they watch TV, they know what’s going on. 

So when Netflix suffered a setback, they assumed the sky was falling. (The fact that the guy who’d incorrectly predicted the launch of an Apple TV for about seven straight years was also saying the sky was falling didn’t help.) 

It’s not falling.

Netflix had a tough quarter because they had no new hit shows launching during what was essentially “Game Of Thrones Spring.”

And because they’re at a point where the market is pretty heavily saturated, at least in the U.S.,

But this quarter they wisely released Stranger Things during a valley (e.g., nothing of any note was on) and likely regained those 126K viewers and then some.

Overseas, they are struggling with developing markets like India where few people have the equivalent of $10 US for a pay-TV service, so they’re testing out models like a mobile-only subscription for around half that.

Overall, they are going to run up against a rough patch when the other services launch and viewers are churning through subscriptions, chasing after the next big hit.

But we feel pretty sure that Netflix will be one of the last services they give up. As we noted the other day,  the loss of Friends and The Office just means people will watch more American Dad and Parks and Rec

Not that they’ll give up Netflix.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re Wall Street, just chill. Netflix isn’t dying and Apple isn’t launching an actual TV set. (Especially now that TV sets are the cheapest screens in the house.) So stop freaking out and start reading TV[R]EV.

If you’re one of the other Flixes, let this be a lesson—you are going to be on the firing line every quarter, so plan your release schedules accordingly.

If you’re Netflix, you don’t need our advice. You’re doing fine on your own and besides, we don’t do tweet storms. 

2. Sinclair STIRR Is A Hit

Stirr, the free OTT service launched by Sinclair earlier this year appears to be a hit, having logged its millionth download.

Why It Matters

The service is a mishmash of local broadcasters and services like Cheddar, FailArmy, Outdoor America and The Tennis Channel (NB: Sinclair owns The Tennis Channel).

They’re also adding in a bunch of original channels, including something called STIRR CITY which has local news, sports and entertainment content in a VOD format. (But only from cities where Sinclair has a local station. So if you’re in NYC, they got nothing for you.)

STIRR is interesting to us for two reasons: (a) it is yet another successful free ad-supported streaming service and (b) it’s focused on local broadcast, and while it does not have national coverage, it hits a whole lot of markets and may provide a window into how local broadcasters will be able to survive in the TV 2.0 ecosystem, especially with customers who have no interest in subscribing to a vMVPD.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re an advertiser, this could be an interesting way to reach local audiences—Sinclair has said they are looking at what times of day viewers are watching their local programming and may be able to offer something sorta kinda like dayparts.

Regardless, it’s going to be a good way to reach people you are not hitting on traditional linear broadcast TV.

If you’re a rival local broadcast group or even a single station, take a look, the app is well done and has plenty of good ideas you can steal.

If you’re a cord cutter and miss your local broadcast station’s news and you’re in the Sinclair zone, your salvation is waiting.