January was full of fireworks for Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) , anchored by the leading video service's blowout quarter. The stock hit yet another all-time high on Friday, propelled by a Moody's credit upgrade. In a month that saw many of last year's big winners fall flat, Netflix shares soared 11% higher in January.
However, last month is now in the past. Let's go over a few dates that will be important for Netflix.
The opening ceremony for the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi will take place on Friday, kicking off several weeks of competitive events that will draw huge audiences worldwide.
This is a bigger deal for Netflix than you might think, as subscribers figuring they'll be occupied with the Olympics through the closing ceremony on Feb. 23 may decide to take a month off.
This wasn't such a problem when Netflix was a disc-based rental service. Folks always had DVDs at home or optical discs on the way, making it cumbersome to take a short break from the platform. Streaming makes it all too easy to let it go, and it's a big reason Netflix stopped reporting its monthly churn metric two years ago.
Sochi may be a negative force, but a week later we'll have Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright -- coming off award-winning performances --- returning for the second season of House of Cards.
True to nearly all of Netflix's original or first-run content, every episode of the second season will be made available on Valentine's Day. Backstabbing politicians? Secrets that are difficult to bury? Who says romance isn't dead?
The timing of the second season is brilliant. It comes a week into the Olympics, reminding viewers about the importance of keeping subscriptions active.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG ) has become an unlikely player in original content, but its Farmed and Dangerous sitcom will become the latest series to turn to digital distribution on Feb. 17.
Don't look for Farmed and Dangerous on Netflix. It will be exclusively on Hulu Plus. Unlike Netflix's "binge viewing" approach, Hulu will make the four episodes that champion Chipotle's "food with integrity" mantra available just one weekly installment at a time.
If the more conventional release slate is a success, it could force Netflix to reconsider its strategy of making all of a new season's shows available at once.
In the end, February may not be as explosive as January was for Netflix shareholders, but it will still bear watching.
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