Netflix Catches Shooting Starz

Netflix picks up a show that was originally set to run on Starz.

Jan 15, 2014 at 2:34PM

It isn't a good day for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shareholders, but a little game of Marco Polo may brighten their day later this year.

Shares of the leading video service are trading lower in the fallout from the net neutrality decision that was handed down by a federal appeals court yesterday. Analysts aren't exactly in agreement as to what it will mean for Netflix. Wedbush's Michael Pachter feels that the move will increase Netflix's operating costs because Internet service providers can command higher prices for speedy content delivery. Pacific Crest counters that it's not a big deal, because access providers are unlikely to anger their customers by restricting or slowing connections from certain sources. 

It's against this potentially fundamentals-altering development that Netflix made a move to beef up its already strong roster of original content.

Marco Polo -- a nine-episode series that was originally being developed for Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- will begin filming shortly. It will be available through Netflix across all of its territories later this year. The producers tell Variety that the show is set in China, in a world "replete with astonishing martial arts, sexual intrigue, political skullduggery and spectacular battles."

It's fitting that Starz should pass on the show, leaving Netflix with a potentially magnetic property. It was Starz that walked away from a streaming deal with Netflix two years ago, leaving what seemed to be a huge void in streaming content at the time. 

Netflix bounced back, of course. It went on to land plenty of new content licensing deals, and the subscribers kept coming. Netflix now commands an audience of more than 40 million global streaming customers. No one else even comes close. This is the kind of clout that allows it to land a House of Cards, and be the fire starter that can resurrect Arrested Development for a fourth season.

Marco Polo may or may not be a hit. It would be unfortunate if it isn't popular, but in the end, Netflix will just have another original series to follow it up. Netflix can't lose. It's the one that studios and directors craving artistic freedom are now seeking out. It has an unmatched audience, and a validated platform after the critical success of House of Cards. The trickle of original and first-run content is starting to become a deluge.

Net neutrality was all about leveling the playing field in terms of access, but Netflix -- in its own way -- has tipped the scales of content in its own favor.

There's always something good on TV these days
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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