Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is the streaming service that everyone knows, but it also wants its platform to offer something to everyone. With House of Cards and Orange is the New Black it created prime time TV dramas that appealed to many viewers. What Netflix is missing, however, are the truly dedicated niche fans.
A wide range of different genres is increasingly important to Netflix as the firm starts to expand around the world. That’s why it’s looking at local film makers to build out its original and licensed content library. Here’s a look at some of the more exotic genres that it has begun working in.
Eros, Bollywood giant, talks to Netflix
Eros International plc is a massive company that works to produce and distribute films for the Indian industry. The Bollywood powerhouse is in talks with Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), among other companies, in order to get its content onto major streaming platforms.
A report from Deadline published on Tuesday morning said that Apple and Amazon were also looking at the company. It’s impossible to fully predict, of course, which bidder is most likely to win that contract. Given that it could be a $1 billion deal, however, there’s a huge amount at stake.
Analysts reckon that Apple is a wild card. That’s because it has purchased almost no content so far. Making your first big purchase in an ancillary market with limited international appeal seems odd.
For Netflix, on the other hand, the deal seems almost obvious. It is already trying to get its hands on Bollywood projects. It revealed earlier in August that it is working on two original series for streaming in India. Netlflix created its first original Indian production, titled Sacred Games, last year.
With a population of more than 1 billion and rapidly increasing income, India seems like a prime target for growth for Netflix. Unlike China, the country has free internet access and limited censorship problems. All of that combined with the international appeal of Bollywood means that more and more deals in that part of the world are likely.
Getting more anime
India isn’t the only part of Asia that interests Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). The firm is also pouring money into Japanese animation. Earlier this week the company announced that it was acquiring a whole slew of new shows in the genre.
Anime is a very deep and wide genre, and in fact is only really considered a genre outside of Japan. The property that will appear on the streaming platform include a Godzilla sequel set in the distant future and a show about a bear that has animal friends and likely no plot direction.
That breadth of story type and tone means that there will be something for everyone among the anime properties that Netflix is set to offer. It’s also true that anime has incredible international appeal, particularly in the United States.
That means that the content it buys as a cover all in a market like Japan can cover its needs for niche content in other markets. If the firm can design its content strategy and costs to fit this model more broadly, it may be able to keep its margins higher as time goes on.
Comic book movies forever at Netflix, Inc.
It might not be exotic, but the change in the way that Netflix will approach comic book movies is important. On Monday, August 7th, its first acquisition was announced. Millarworld is a comic book company that’s driven by writer Mark Millar. He’s one of the most prominent names in writing the medium and his work now belongs to Netflix.
The most famous parts of Millar’s work, Kingsman and Kick Ass, won’t be part of the deal. Those comic book stories have already been used for films on the silver screen, meaning that the rights situation around them is likely more complex.
The fact that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is choosing to just outright buy intellectual property rights is a big change for the company. Before this deal, most of the content it made had licensed rights, or the entire project was simply bought on contract.
If it chooses to forge ahead with making its own shows based on IP that it owns, Netflix could do something to protect it from studio pressure.
In recent years content providers have become wary of Netflix as the firm buys up some of the best scripts and talent out there. Because of friction on the content creation side, some firms have become skeptical of selling their content to the streaming platform.
Buying up IP may be the only way for the firm to make a strong argument against those studios by competing with them itself on all fronts.
Netflix stock is in a very weird place
Netflix stock has been growing strongly through 2017, but that’s not a reason to buy in now. The firm is under a lot of pressure from all sides, and its high valuation makes it a very risky buy.
Rob Sanderson, of MKM Partners, had some words of warning for those looking at Netflix stock. According to the analyst, the firm’s shares could be very vulnerable if stocks hit a rough patch. That means if a recession or something else spooks the market, Netflix stock is likely to see investors flee.
The thing that makes Netflix vulnerable compared to its peers are its low earnings and the firm’s very high valuation compared to those earnings.
That’s just an argument based on traditional stock market tools and broad trends. There are, to augment that, a lot of risks that the firm faces based on its business model. Right now Netflix is going into huge amounts of debt in order to build up a large content library.
Anime, Bollywood and comic book movies all take money to buy and produce. On top of that the firm has big operating costs including marketing and customer service. If Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) growth hits a wall for one reason or another, there might be real worries about all of that debt dragging it down.