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Yahoo Finance entertainment reporter Allie Canal discusses the recent news that Netflix is in the process of trying out live streaming features on its platform.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: Welcome back, everyone. Netflix might be hosting more live streams. The platform confirming to Yahoo Finance that it's working on a live streaming option for reunions, stand up comedy specials, and more. Now, this comes as the company sent a stark warning to employees about its content, refusing to censor specific artists, even if workers find the material harmful. We own finances Alexandra Canal joins us now with the latest. Allie, what do we need to know?
ALEXANDRA CANAL: Hi, Rachelle. Yes, get ready for some live streaming content on Netflix. As you were mentioning, comedy specials, reunions, competition shows, those will all be getting the live show treatment according to the company. There's currently no timeline, Netflix saying they're still in the early days of this. But it's an effort to support more innovation when it comes to their unscripted division, and really keep up with the competition.
If we take a look at some of the competitors in this space, we've seen similar moves from Disney Plus. They had a live stream of the Oscar nominations back in February. And then later on this year, they will be pulling "Dancing with the Stars" from ABC after 15 years, hosting that on the Disney Plus platform. So Netflix is really looking to really capture audiences in new at innovative ways amid all of the competition that we've seen in the landscape right now.
We've also seen the company experiment with video games, choose your own adventure options. They'll be rolling out an ad supported offering later this year as well. And there's a lot of room for growth. And that growth is one of the reasons why we've seen Netflix update that employee culture memo that you referenced, that happening last week.
According to the memo which was obtained by Variety, the company wrote in part, quote, "Not everyone will like or agree with everything on our service. While every title is different, we approach them based on the same set of principles. We support the artistic expression of the creators we choose to work with, we program for a diversity of audiences in taste, and we let viewers decide what's appropriate for them versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices."
And this is pretty much in response to that Netflix walkout we saw in October amid the Dave Chappelle comedy special "The Closer," which was accused of being transphobic. But Netflix really doubling down there that it won't censor content even if it's quote, unquote, "Harmful to employees." Overall, Netflix has had to work through quite a bit of problems in recent weeks and months. Subscriber slowdown that saw a loss of 200,000 members, a stock price that has just plummeted. So investors really want to see the company address some of these problems head on, continue to innovate, and hopefully come out stronger in the end.
- Allie, you mentioned the woes there the subs loss in particular, the stock has been hammered. So how in the world does the stock get upgraded from neutral to outperform?
ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, that made some noise this morning, Dave, Wedbush reiterating its price target of $280 a share. The bank also upgraded the stock from neutral to outperform, as you mentioned, saying it's in a position to grow amid the staggered rollout of some of their top shows like "Stranger Things" and "Ozark." Wedbush also pretty confident in the future for Netflix saying it's optimistic that its password sharing crackdown, that ad supported offering, that will all help address the oversaturation problem that's happening in the US and Canada right now.
And, you know, there's a lot of talk right now that Netflix has the power to potentially raise more prices, the hope being that they could use some of that revenue to really reinvest in some more emerging markets like Latin America and some of the Asian countries, so they see an upside on that front, see an upside in the share price. They described Netflix as a quote, "Immensely profitable slow growth company."
But I don't think it's going to be an easy journey for them to hit those marks. There's still a lot of hurdles. There's a lot of competition. But at the end of the day, Netflix is the leader in this space. They have the content. They're willing to spend the money.
I think it's just going to be an issue of how it all plays out with management. How the integrations happen. Will they be successful on the video game front too? There's a lot of questions right now. But certainly analysts are not giving up hope just yet.
- And when are they going to get in sports, Allie? I keep asking that question. Yahoo's Allie Canal, thanks so much. Appreciate that.