The first nine months of 2020 have been insane, and the 10th is already shaping to be a doozy. A lot can -- and will -- happen between now and Halloween.
We've got earnings season about to get underway. There are also some pretty big events near the end of the month that will impact the entertainment and travel industries. Let's take a look at some of the dates that I will be following closely in the coming months.
One of the earlier entertainment bellwethers to report this earnings season will be Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). It will be discussing its financial performance for the past three months shortly after the close on Oct. 20.
Netflix stock has been a big winner this year, up 63% through Thursday's close. The appeal here is fairly obvious. A lot of us are spending more time at home in the pandemic. Netflix is providing comfort food for our distraction-hungry minds.
Netflix has added 25.86 million paying subscribers worldwide to its platform's rolls, but back in July it was only targeting net additions of 2.5 million for the third quarter. Its guidance at the time also called for net revenue to slow to 21%, its weakest top-line growth in seven years. It does see net income growing at a healthy 43% clip.
With the launch of rival services Peacock and HBO Max this summer, Disney+ closing the still-wide gap, and a controversial film that spurred a wave of subscriber cancellations last month, there's a lot on Netflix's plate right now. We'll know in a couple of weeks how it fared against its admittedly conservative guidance.
Disney's (NYSE:DIS) new streaming service may or may not be a thorn in Netflix's side, but there's no denying the incredible rookie year that Disney+ has had. The platform topped 60 million premium subscribers over the summer, even though Netflix itself has also thrived in the same climate that has been very kind to well-stocked streaming services.
Disney+ hit the ground running in November of last year with the release of The Mandalorian. The Star Wars spinoff attracted new and old fans of the franchise, and despite all of the pandemic production challenges, it was able to wrap a second season in time for it to premiere on Oct. 30.
Netflix has made the road map to success pretty clear when it comes to streaming: have a deep catalog and pepper it with some high-profile shows and movies that are exclusive to that platform. The Mandalorian has been a huge part of the Disney+ success recipe, and keeping additional seasons coming regularly is an easy way to keep subscribers around. The second season naturally better not disappoint fans of the first season.
It's hard to think of a harder-hit segment of the travel industry in this pandemic than the cruise lines. Carnival (NYSE:CCL), Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL), and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NYSE:NCLH) have each surrendered more than half of their value in 2020, and it's easy to see why they are out of favor. U.S. cruises have been shut down since March, and every few weeks they keep extending the restart line.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps pushing out its "No Sail" order that prevents stateside-based sailings. COVID-19 is a monster, and a cruise ship proved to be a difficult vessel on which to contain the spread earlier this year. However, with concessions made about new health and safety measures, the latest order banning cruise ship sailings could be the last. We'll know on Halloween if it will be trick or treat for Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line come November.