Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



It's Too Late to Kill Netflix, Microsoft

Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) push into original video content has been a slow process, but we're finally getting there. The software giant announced this morning that several shows will be coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, and other Microsoft devices starting in June.

Don't expect to do a lot of binge viewing at first. Microsoft's getting out of the gate slowly in June with a reality series on street soccer. It will also stream the 13th annual Bonnaroo music and arts festival live during its mid-June weekend. A documentary detailing Atari's demise from the viewpoint of its biggest financial blunder -- overestimating the success of its E.T. video game to the point where it had to bury millions of unsold cartridges in a New Mexico landfill -- will air later this year.  The more magnetic scripted shows won't be out until at least next year.

Microsoft seemed to be making a splash into original video programming when it hired seasoned TV exec Nancy Tellem to be its president of entertainment and digital. The move was so significant that Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) CEO Reed Hastings resigned from Microsoft's board of directors just two weeks later. Hastings never called out the hire as the reason for his departure, but it was pretty clear. Microsoft was moving into original video programming to take its Xbox Live platform to the next level, and it was going to be a conflict of interest for Hastings.

Microsoft feels it has a captive audience, particularly when it comes to gamers. It's losing ground in the latest generation of consoles with the PS4 outselling the Xbox One, but it still watches over 48 million Xbox Live subscribers who likely want to do more than merely play games with their fellow die-hard players. Netflix coincidentally enough now has more than 48 million streaming accounts worldwide, but at least we know that its audience is there solely for the video.

It's going to be hard for anyone to catch up to Netflix. It has $7.1 billion in streaming content obligations, and even a company as rich as Microsoft isn't going to tie up that kind of money on its fledgling video platform. 

There are also conflicts of interest within Xbox Originals. On one hand it has Steven Spielberg aboard as executive producer of a live-action series based on Microsoft's successful Halo gaming franchise. On the other it's taking a jab at Atari at the expense of Spielberg's E.T. merchandising efforts. Taking a shot at a gaming pioneer also seems slightly inappropriate at a time when its own Xbox One is losing ground to the PS4.

Naturally, this all goes away if Xbox Originals puts out at least one hit. If it's able to have exclusive rights to at least one show that gains momentum, it will be a difference-maker. Unfortunately, it's not easy to just set up shop here. Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video have rolled out original shows with recognizable stars, but they've yet to approach the kind of buzz that Netflix generates with House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black. Microsoft is too late, and it's not coming with enough ammo to make a difference right away.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 6:35 PM, JimK wrote:

    I’m not sure what “too late” means. AMC was clearly “too late” when they started making walking dead when compared to the other cable content creators. Netflix was clearly “too late” when they started making original series when compared to HBO. Heck, Microsoft was “too late” when they started the fledgling Xbox unit because Nintendo and Sony owned gaming. If they make good content, people will watch it. If not, it dies. I’m not sure being “timely” has much to do with it.

  • Report this Comment On April 28, 2014, at 10:24 PM, kellenbmiller wrote:

    I think your right JimK.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2933294, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/4/2015 8:52:07 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Rick Munarriz

Rick has been writing for Motley Fool since 1995 where he's a Consumer and Tech Stocks Specialist. Yes, that's a long time. He's been an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and a portfolio lead analyst for Motley Fool Supernova since each newsletter service's inception. He earned his BBA and MBA from the University of Miami, and he now lives a block from his alma mater.

Today's Market

updated 11 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,374.76 23.38 0.00%
S&P 500 1,951.13 2.27 0.00%
NASD 4,733.50 0.00 0.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/3/2015 4:00 PM
MSFT $43.50 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ***
NFLX $101.06 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Netflix CAPS Rating: ***