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Netflix ‘eyes music competition series,’ stock flies high after post-Q1 wobble

Netflix is developing several music-based competition series “in the image of” classic entertainment formats like The Voice and American Idol, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Brandon Riegg

One of the shows in development, titled Building the Band, will see musicians auditioning for a role in a band, said the WSJ. They will rehearse together but never see each other until they perform live. Another of the shows features songwriters competing for a chance to write music for professional artists. Both titles are likely to be released next year, the WSJ said, citing unnamed sources.

The news comes six months after Netflix’s unscripted boss Brandon Riegg told delegates at Content London that finding a shiny-floor studio show was a “big priority” for his team.

“Those are hard shows to do. It’s not easy to find ones that are really going to break out, but we are focusing our efforts on finding a big shiny-floor performance show,” he said at the time. “When they work, they can run in perpetuity, almost.” Riegg also noted that the streamer’s move into live programming makes a shiny-floor format a more viable option.

The news comes with Netflix stock once again flying high after a wobble following the release of its first-quarter earnings, in which it disclosed it will stop reporting subscriber numbers next year.

Despite adding 9.3 million subscribers and seeing revenue increase 15% year-on-year to US$9.4bn, the stock dropped by 9% to US$555 per share (from US$610) the day after its earnings report in late April.

The decline was attributed in large part to its decision to stop reporting subscriber numbers, which has been interpreted as a sign that its total paid membership will begin to plateau. As of March 31, the streamer had 269.6 million subscribers.

However, amid a succession of major wins – most prominently the The Roast of Tom Brady, which was streamed live – and the news that it has grabbed the rights to a pair of Christmas Day NFL games, the stock has surged over the past month.

The streamer has also started to put its foot to the floor in building its advertising business. In early May, it held its first in-person upfront presentation in New York. At the star-studded presentation, it announced that its ad-supported tier now has 40 million global monthly active users, compared with five million a year ago, and that over 40% of all signups in countries where the AVoD tier is available now come from the ad plan.

It will also move further into the live events space in early 2025 when its 10-year, US$5bn deal for WWE’s flagship weekly show Monday Night Raw begins.

After dropping to around US$550 per share on April 30, the stock has jumped by nearly 19% to US$654 per share over the past month.

At the time of writing, the company has a market cap of US$282bn, compared with Disney’s US$100.8bn, Warner Bros Discovery’s US$18.77bn and Paramount Global’s US$8.12bn.

In a note to clients, Mark Mahaney, an analyst at investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI, said Netflix is in “the strongest position financially, fundamentally and competitively that we have ever seen,” adding that he sees live events and gaming as two “very promising” long-term revenue opportunities.

Elsewhere, Deadline reports the streamer has greenlit the next iteration of its natural history documentary series Life on Our Planet, with Morgan Freeman narrating and Steven Spielberg exec producing. The untitled series comes from All3Media-owned Silverback Films and Spielberg’s Amblin Documentaries.

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