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Netflix to add video games to service after subscriber growth slump – Global News

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Netflix reported its worst slowdown in subscriber growth in eight years as people emerge from their pandemic cocoons. So it’s adding a new attraction to its marquee: Video games.

On Tuesday, the video streaming giant announced it will offer video games in its existing subscription plans at no extra cost. The confirmation of the long-anticipated expansion came in conjunction with the release of its latest earnings report.

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That confirmation of the long-anticipated gaming expansion came in conjunction with the release of Netflix’s latest earnings report. That financial breakdown showed the video service added 1.5 million subscribers during the April-June period.

That’s slightly better than the modest increase that management forecast after the service stumbled to a sluggish start during the winter months, but still far below its growth rate in recent years.

The 5.5 million subscribers that Netflix gained through the first six months of this year represents its weakest first-half performance since 2013 — a time when the company was still rolling out more original programming instead of licensing old TV series and movies.

Now Netflix is taking another leap by offering video games. The Los Gatos, California, company telegraphed the move last week when it disclosed the hiring of a veteran video game executive, Mike Verdu, to explore potential opportunities in another field of entertainment.


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Lisa Kudrow & Mae Martin dish ‘Feel Good’ Season 2 – Jun 4, 2021

“The reason we’re doing them is to help the subscription service grow and be more important in people’s lives,” Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings told investors during a Tuesday discussion.

Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief product officer and the executive who will oversee what he described as a multi-year expansion, said the company will initially focus on mobile games before eventually expanding to consoles and TV sets as well. The games initially will be tied to Netflix’s most popular programming, Peters said, but standalone titles may be added to the, mix too. He even speculated that Netflix eventually may create a TV series or film inspired by one of its video games.

“There’s a big, big prize here, and our job is to be really focused,” Peters said.

Despite this year’s growth slowdown, Netflix remains by far the world’s biggest streaming service in an increasingly competitive field that includes Walt Disney Co., HBO, Amazon and Apple. Netflix finished June with 209 million worldwide subscribers.

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Netflix’s heft also has produced steady profits. The company earned $1.35 billion, or $2.97 per share, nearly doubling from the same time last year. Revenue rose by 19 per cent from last year to $47.3 billion.

But the lackluster first-half numbers are a dramatic reversal from last year, when government-imposed lockdowns across the world thrust people into binge-watching frenzies while corralled at home. Already the world’s largest video streaming service when the pandemic began in March 2020, Netflix picked up 26 million subscribers during the first half of last year.

While no one expected Netflix to sustain that breakneck pace, the drop-off in subscriber growth this year has been more severe than anticipated. Netflix shares have fallen by about 10 per cent from their peak of $593.29 six months ago. The shares edged up slightly in extended trading after Tuesday’s news came out.

Netflix management has blamed part of this year’s slowdown to pandemic-induced production delays that left its video service with fewer proven hits. The company is expecting that problem to fade during the second half of this year with new-season releases of popular series such as Sex Education and The Witcher, as well as movies starring big-name stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep.


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Liberals propose new Canadian Broadcast Act rules for online streaming platforms – Nov 3, 2020

Even so, Netflix let down investors with a forecast calling for only an additional 3.5 million subscribers during the July-September period. That was well below analyst estimates for a third-quarter gain of 5.6 million subscribers, according to FactSet Research.

The conservative outlook suggests Netflix isn’t expecting an immediate boost from its foray into a highly competitive video game field already contested by far more experienced companies such as Epic Games, Microsoft and Electronic Arts.

But if the move into video gaming pays off, it could eventually give Netflix more leverage to boost its prices. The company has already been gradually raising subscription costs in recent years, helping to boost its average monthly revenue per subscriber to $14.54 in its biggest market comprised of the U.S. and Canada. That’s a 16 per cent increase from $12.52 per month two years ago.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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COVID-19: Ottawa reports seven new cases, fatal cases decline sharply in July – Ottawa Citizen

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Vaccinations have slowed considerably in the capital since the peak week in early July when nearly 133,000 doses were administered.

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Ottawa is reporting seven new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday as severe cases, hospitalizations and fatal outcomes continue to sharply decline in Ottawa while vaccination rates gradually climb.

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No deaths have been reported since early July, and there were two COVID-related deaths in the city during the month, while there were 14 deaths in June and 56 deaths in May. There have been 593 COVID-related deaths in the city since the beginning of the pandemic and 27,827 total cases.

There are currently no patients in local hospitals or in intensive care wards. Of Ottawa’s total cases, 27,184 people have now recovered.

There have been 49 cases in the last seven days at a rate of 4.6 cases per 100,000 population. That key indicator has remained relatively flat this week.

The virus reproduction rate, which measures the number of secondary cases generated by each COVID-19 case in the community, has a weekly R(t) value of 1.15. Any number above 1.0 indicates the virus is spreading in the community, while any value below that threshold indicates it is receding.

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The R(t) value was below that threshold during May and June, but has remained above 1.0 since mid-July. There has also been a slight rise in the viral signal in Ottawa’s wastewater over the last seven days, which typically signals a corresponding rise in daily case counts.

Ottawa’s test positivity average is 0.5 per cent for the past week.

Vaccinations have slowed considerably in the capital since the peak week in early July when nearly 133,000 doses were administered. There were 33,212 doses administered in Ottawa last week and 104,906 the week before.

Vaccinations so far in August have followed a similarly slowing pace with 4,277 doses administered on Sunday.

The city continues to outpace the provincial vaccination rate with 1,450,733 doses administered, with 799,882 first doses and 650,851 second doses administered. That represents 83 per cent of the eligible population (12-plus) with one dose and 72 per cent of eligible residents with both doses.

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Public Health Ontario did not release provincial data on the Civic Holiday Monday, and said the compiled data will be available during the regular morning update Tuesday.

There were 154 new cases in Quebec reported in the past 24 hours and no deaths in the province.

There are 61 patients in Quebec hospitals, one more admission since Friday, with 17 patients in ICU.

Another 38,883 vaccine doses were administered in the past 24 hours, and according to Monday’s provincial update, a total of 11,330,968 vaccine doses have been administered in Quebec, representing 74 per cent of the population.

Ontario reported 218 new cases on Sunday and two deaths, and as of the last update, the province had reported 550,654 total cases and 9,347 deaths. There were 78 patients in hospital and another 110 in ICU, with 78 requiring a ventilator.

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COVID-19 BY THE NUMBERS

Ottawa

(Reported Monday)

7: New cases

27,827: Total cases

0: New deaths

593: Total deaths

50: Active cases

0: In hospital

0: In ICU

4.6: Rolling seven-day average of cases per 100,000 people

0.5: Per cent test positivity, previous seven days

1.15: Estimated R(t), seven-day average. A number greater than one indicates the virus is spreading.

Ontario

(Reported Sunday. Due to Civic holiday, Monday’s data will be included in Tuesday’s update.)

218: New confirmed cases

550,654: Total cases

2: New deaths

9,347: Total deaths

78: Currently in hospital

*110: In intensive care

*78: On a ventilator

(*Note: Ontario Public Health statistics of ICU hospitalizations and ventilator cases contain some patients who no longer test positive for COVID-19, but who are being treated for conditions caused by the virus.)

60,583: Daily doses administered

19,519,781: Total doses administered

14,122: Tests conducted in previous 24 hours

1.4: Per cent positivity in cases

1.0: Estimated reproductive number, R(t). A number lower than one indicates the virus is receding.

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Russia Boosts July Oil Production As OPEC Allies Pump More – OilPrice.com

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Russia Boosts July Oil Production As OPEC+ Allies Pump More | OilPrice.com


Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Russia saw its oil production rise for the first time in three months in July as OPEC+ continued to ease the production cuts and planned maintenance at some Russian oilfields ended.

Russia’s crude oil and condensate production combined stood at around 10.46 million barrels per day (bpd) in July, up by 0.3 percent from June, according to Bloomberg estimates based on preliminary data from Russia’s Energy Ministry.

In May and June, Russia’s crude and condensate production was lower despite the higher quota the leader of the non-OPEC group in the OPEC+ alliance had. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), cited by Bloomberg, Russian crude oil production was lower in June because of planned maintenance.

It’s difficult to assess Russia’s compliance with the OPEC+ deal because its energy ministry is not breaking down crude oil and condensate production. Russia has won an exemption not to consider its condensate output as part of the production cut agreement.

As per Bloomberg estimates, if Russia’s condensate production in July was the same as in June, at around 900,000 bpd, then its crude oil production should have been 9.56 million bpd, above its quota of 9.495 million bpd for July. 

Russia’s compliance with the OPEC+ deal will be around 100 percent in July, Deputy Prime Minister and chief oil negotiator, Alexander Novak, told reporters in Moscow on Friday.

Russia can boost its oil production in August by 100,000 bpd, as per the parameters in the OPEC+ deal agreed in July, Novak added.

On July 18, the OPEC+ group decided it would start returning 400,000 bpd to the market every month beginning in August until it unwinds all the 5.8 million bpd cuts.

While Russia saw its oil production inch up by 0.3 percent month over month in July, OPEC’s oil production is estimated to have jumped last month by 610,000 bpd to 26.72 million bpd, the highest since April 2020, the monthly Reuters survey showed.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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COVID-19: Canada's Moderna vaccines risk expiring due to hesitancy and preferences – Global News

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