All Eyes on Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Google This Week
Dueling streaming deals, a cheaper iPad facing off against a bookish rival, a check-in from a chipmaker, and a city relocating. No, it's not the plot for a Hollywood monster movie but the stuff that will dominate high-tech headlines in the coming days. Here's what to watch as the week unfolds.
1. Netflix (NFLX) streams dreams
CEO Reed Hastings used Facebook to announce a multi-year streaming deal with DreamWorks Animation (DWA) on Sunday night, pointing to a New York Times story that contained details. The update -- in which Hastings cleverly referred to moving forward despite a "foot with the bullet hole" -- seems aimed at calming investors worried by higher subscription prices, a botched re-up with Liberty Starz (LSTZA), and a separation of the DVD-by-mail business into a new unit called Qwikster.
The pact replaces Starz and kicks off in 2013, and according to The New York Times could be worth as much as $30 million per film to DreamWorks. In return, Netflix replaces HBO as the primary distributor of the studio's new films once they're out of the theater.
2. Amazon.com (AMZN) is looking Foxier
It's a big week for Amazon. On Monday, the company announced a streaming deal with Twentieth Century Fox. As a result, management expects to be able to offer 11,000 movie and TV titles by the end of the year. Netflix had roughly 20,000 as of this writing, All Things D reports.
Closing the gap appears to be a priority, and tablets will aid in the effort. On Wednesday, CEO Jeff Bezos is expected to take the stage at a media event in New York City. Everyone expects him to show off a new Kindle that boasts iPad-like features for browsing and streaming video. (Sister site TechCrunch previously reported that the device will use the Android operating system, sell for $250 at launch, and ship in November.)
3. Apple (AAPL) slicing production
Ahead of the debut of the new Kindle, analysts at FBR and JPMorgan say their supply-chain checks show Apple cutting iPad and iPhone production because of global economic concerns. FBR, specifically, says that Apple is now expecting 23.7 million iPhone handsets in the third quarter, down from earlier estimates of 26.1 million.
Investors didn't like the news. Shares of Apple were off more than 1.5% in midday trading on Monday, but bears may want to remember that even at 23.7 million, the rumormongers are calling for better than 60% unit growth year over year.
4. Micron Technology (MU) creating unhappy memories
Though not a bellwether, like Intel (INTC) or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Micron's Thursday earnings report is important for how it reflects demand for memory. The maker of so-called DRAM chips, which give electronic devices the ability to store information quickly, will report after the bell and is expected to see sharp declines in revenue and per-share earnings. A beat in either category would be welcome news for tech investors tired of seeing the sector's big names get pummeled.
5. Google (GOOG) gets some game
Give the search king credit for good timing. Just as Facebook is battling rumors about charging for its new enhanced service, Google has enticed its gaming partner -- Zynga -- to make a bigger commitment to its own social networking platform.
CityVille, Zynga's most popular game and one of the most popular social games on the Web, is now available on Google+. The move is a potential blow to Facebook, which says Zynga players account for roughly 30% of its most engaged users. Zynga, meanwhile, gets the air cover needed to pursue an IPO in a market that recently forced former highflier Groupon to reconsider its options.
And that's the week to come. What stocks are you following right now? Please weigh in using the comments box below. You can also send Tim an email with your suggestions.
Motley Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of Apple, Google, and Netflix at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and columns, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Intel and Apple and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Netflix, Amazon.com, Apple, and Intel, as well as creating a bear put spread position in Netflix, a diagonal call position in Intel, and a bull call spread position in Apple.