Analyst: ‘Stranger Things 4’ Success No Guaranteed Subscriber Woes Antidote

The anticipated debut of the fourth season of Netflix original series “Stranger Things” proved popular among the SVOD behemoth’s subscribers, generating a record 287 million hours streamed across 83 countries.

But the show’s success might not be enough to thwart Netflix’s subscriber retention issues, which saw the streamer lose 200,000 net subs in the first quarter, ended March 31, and a projected net sub loss of 2 million in the current quarter (ending June 30).

KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Justin Patterson, citing Netflix’s international Apple iOS app activity and internal estimates, found limited movement following the availability of the first seven episodes of the nine-episode season.

“Based on country rank and broader data, we believe it is too early to  conclude paid net adds could outperform our/Street estimates for [Q2] losses,” Patterson wrote in a June 1 note.

The analyst, who said Netflix original series typically peak in popularity among subscribers in the second week of release, said the streamer’s app activity returned to “normal levels” with the “Stranger Things” release, but that came after reportedly “very weak levels” in April and May.

Patterson said it’s “possible” Netflix could miss its Q2 sub loss projection — despite “Stranger Things” and the ongoing success of “The Lincoln Lawyer,” among other original shows.

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Walmart’s Eyeing Original Content

Walmart may have shelved plans to launch a branded over-the-top streaming service, but the world’s largest retailer isn’t stepping away from producing content.

Bloomberg report said Walmart plans to produce upwards of half a dozen original series it would stream exclusively on – the transactional VOD service it acquired in 2010.

With Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu dominating the domestic SVOD market, streaming services are entering the content space in an effort to lure and retain subscribers with original content.

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Vudu is an established brand that sells and rents Hollywood digital movies, similar to iTunes, Redbox On Demand, Google Play, Prime Video, Microsoft Movies and TV, Fandango Now and Comcast Xfinity, among others.

Streaming original ad-supported content could expand digital transactions while luring incremental foot traffic to the platform. It could also help Walmart generate incremental advertising revenue in an OTT market where Netflix and Amazon don’t sell ads.

“[Vudu has] struggled to figure out [its] role in the new streaming environment,” Edward Yruma, analyst at KeyBanc Capital markets, told Bloomberg. “Walmart sells almost 50%of all TVs in the United States, so clearly they have some opportunities to better leverage the purchase.”

Similarly to Apple’s pending subscription streaming service, AppleTV+, which will feature original programming, Walmart is reportedly talking to Hollywood content creators about series that would appeal to families, kids, young couples and parents.

“A lot of advertisers haven’t worked with Vudu before, but having a new name out there, and having that name connected to Walmart, should spark interest,” said Andy Stone, VP at Horizon Media, who clients include Geico insurance and Corona beer, among others.