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3 Entertainment Industry Earnings Reports to Watch This Season

By Rick Munarriz - Jan 21, 2020 at 10:09AM

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One was one of last year's hottest stocks; the other two are media giants. All will have a lot to prove when they deliver their quarterly results.

An abridged trading week kicks off Tuesday, and widely held streaming giant Netflix (NFLX 2.17%) will report its fourth-quarter financial results shortly after the market closes for the day. But it's not the only entertainment company with a lot riding on how last quarter played out. Disney (DIS 3.29%) and Roku (ROKU 4.72%) will also have a lot at stake when they step up with fresh financials next month.

Let's take a look at what each of these three industry bellwethers has to prove this season.

Netflix app running on a smartphone.

Image source: Netflix.


Do you trust Netflix? The leading premium video streaming service proved itself to be mortal recently, falling short of its subscriber targets in back-to-back quarters, largely due to domestic weakness after a poorly received subscription rate hike. Management will not want to see that streak of guidance misses stretch to three quarters.

The magic number here is 165.93 million, the year-end subscriber goal that Netflix was targeting back in mid-October. It would have had to close out 2019 with 7.6 million more paying members on its books than it had at the end of September, and adding that many customers won't have been an easy task given that major new rival services rolled out at lower prices during the quarter. 

If Netflix doesn't live up to its outlook, it will be hard for Wall Street to keep taking its crystal ball seriously. The only way for the company to save its forecasting reputation following another subscriber miss would be if its revenues top guidance. That's certainly possible given  that members are paying higher rates now than they were a year ago. 


Another media giant that needs to dispel the memory of back-to-back quarterly disappointments is Disney. It spooked investors a bit by cranking out two straight quarters of declining attendance at its original Disneyland resort. Disney World in Florida also suffered a dip in turnstiles taps during the company's fiscal third quarter, but at that resort, visits bounced back a quarter later. 

Unlike Netflix, Disney did beat the market last year. The broad-based media giant remains one of the market's most endearing blue chip stocks. Investors excited about the prospects of recently launched Disney+ helped keep the shares rising, and next month's earnings report will be an ideal time for an update on how the subscriber growth is coming along. Disney+ topped 10 million subscribers on its first day of business, and it will be interesting to see how the streaming video platform is doing now in terms of users and engagement. 


Investors wondering what Roku shares will do for an encore after more than quadrupling last year may feel disappointed right now. The streaming video company's stock is actually trading lower three weeks into 2020. That could change if Roku comes through with another monster report on Feb. 13. 

Roku has transformed itself from a sleepy streaming media hardware company into a ceiling-cracking platform provider. By the end of the third quarter, it had 32.3 million active users, up 36% year over year. Its engagement trends are even more exciting, with usage and platform revenue growing faster than the user count. With the arrival of Disney+ in November and other new services on the way, there's no question that streaming video will continue growing at the expense of traditional linear television consumption. Unlike Disney and Netflix, Roku doesn't have any recent negative surprises to mitigate, but any stock that skyrockets 337% in a single year the way that Roku did in 2019 will have to really impress Wall Street if it expects to keep padding those gains. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
$190.56 (2.17%) $4.05
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
$108.64 (3.29%) $3.46
Roku Stock Quote
$97.66 (4.72%) $4.40

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