Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) is going to have a busy summer. There will be a few interesting dates for investors to watch out for next month. New shows are coming. Old shows are leaving. There's also the theatrical debut of a very important movie, and we have what should be one of the most important quarterly reports in the company's history.
No pressure, Netflix. No pressure.
Let's go over four dates in July that may move Netflix stock.
Content goes both ways at Netflix. The shows going out never make as much noise as shows being added to the service's growing digital catalog, but licensing deals for shows and movies all have expiration dates on Netflix. The dot-com darling simply has to pick what's worth paying to keep arounjd.
Families with young children found that out the hard way last month, when Viacom's (NASDAQ: VIA ) Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. content was retired from Netflix's streaming library. Kids said bon voyage to SpongeBob SquarePants and adios to Dora the Explorer.
There were also a few of Viacom's MTV and Comedy Central shows that went away, but the real hit to Netflix came from the departure of the popular Nick programming for kids. Well, come next month adults will get a taste, as Downton Abbey goes away. Netflix's streaming rights end on July 1. In a shrewd coincidence, Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) has picked up streaming rights for both Viacom's content and the popular BBC series.
It there's an outcry about the end of Downton Abbey on Netflix, you can bet that Amazon will be a beneficiary. That's not the kind of attention Netflix wants.
Thankfully, Netflix isn't just losing content. A smart strategic move by the company has been the push to bankroll deals for original or exclusive first-run content.
After the success of House of Cards in February and Arrested Development last month, don't be surprised if buzz builds for Orange Is the New Black. The show centering on a prison for women is the handiwork of Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.
Sure, Netflix hasn't exactly hit it out of the park in terms of mass appeal with Lilyhammer and Hemlock Grove, but every show is an opportunity for Netflix to remind subscribers why they should stick around. The Orange Is the New Black trailer is also far more compelling than the subject matter, so don't be surprised if it's the first sleeper hit for the service when it rolls out on July 11.
DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ: DWA ) hits theaters everywhere with Turbo on July 17. The latest computer-rendered release out of the studio behind Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar is a movie about an insanely fast snail with dreams of racing in the Indy 500.
Why will Netflix investors want to keep an eye on a movie playing on the big screen? Well, it's not just about the long-term deal with DreamWorks Animation that will bring future releases to Netflix's streaming platform. This movie will be even more important, because Netflix has signed up to be the exclusive home for Tubro: F.A.S.T., a show based on the movie's characters.
Netflix will begin streaming the new show in December, so the hope is that it's a big enough blockbuster that it will help young children forget about the Viacom content that went away in May and has now made a new home at Amazon's Prime Instant platform.
Netflix has yet to announce the date for its second-quarter report, but it has historically taken place in late July. There's a lot riding on this report. After the blowout subscriber growth and dramatic fiscal improvement during Netflix's first quarter, expectations are high for the good times to keep rolling at Netflix.
After the company topped $1 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time during the first three months of the year, analysts are looking for sequential improvement. Wall Street sees profitability nearly quadrupling since last year's second quarter on a healthy 21% year-over-year spike in revenue.
There have been no indicators that Netflix won't be able to live up to these lofty expectations. The service's popularity is exploding worldwide, with more than 36 million global streaming subscribers. The stock has been one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out last year, and a strong report will be necessary to keep that momentum going.
More than four dates
Naturally, there will be plenty of important dates for Netflix next month. Analysts will make moves. Content deals will be announced. Rivals will jockey for position. However, we already know these four dates will be material to the company's success this summer for investors.
Hold on tight, Netflix investors. It's going to be a wild summer.
The tumultuous performance of Netflix shares since the summer of 2011 has caused headaches for many devoted shareholders. While the company's first-mover status is often viewed as a competitive advantage, the opportunities in streaming media have brought some new, deep-pocketed rivals looking for their piece of a growing pie. Can Netflix fend off this burgeoning competition, and will its international growth aspirations really pay off? These are must-know issues for investors, which is why The Motley Fool has released a premium report on Netflix. Inside, you'll learn about the key opportunities and risks facing the company, as well as reasons to buy or sell the stock. The report includes a full year of updates to cover critical new developments, so make sure to click here and claim a copy today.