07/14/17: Report: Netflix’s content slate is worth $11 billion

Good morning. It’s Friday July 14, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing!


Shareware: Shareware, sometimes referred to as trial software or demoware, is software that allows users to try all or part of the program for free before buying it.

Wowza. A according to a new study led by Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne, the net value of Netflix’s current content slate stands at $11 billion. That’s more than a number of linear TV giants, including Time Warner ($10 billion), Viacom ($4.9 billion), Discovery Communications ($2.4 billion), and others. Yet Netflix may not be getting as much bang for its buck as those other companies. According to Swinburne, Netflix generates roughly $1 of revenue per dollar of net content value. For old guard entertainment companies, it’s $2 to $4. On the whole, Morgan Stanley’s analysts were bullish on the streaming giant, raising their price target on Netflix’s stock from $175 per share to $185 per share.
The Wall Street Journal reports that streaming device maker Roku is currently planning an initial public offering, which it intends to launch before the end of the year. The company has reportedly hired Morgan Stanley, Allen & Co., and Citigroup Inc. as underwriters of the IPO. The company might file confidentially within the next few weeks, according to one Journal source. Roku is reportedly seeking a valuation of about $1 billion.
DirecTV Now, the OTT TV service that AT&T launched in November, is closer to adding its DVR feature. This summer, AT&T will begin a test run of a new video platform that includes a network-based DVR. To start, the company says it will only invite select DirecTV Now customers to take part in the beta. But it’s not all about DirecTV Now: AT&T says that the test precedes the launch of a platform-spanning video platform with a “consistent look and feel.” The goal is to lend unity to user interfaces across all AT&T video services in the U.S. The process may take a while. The company plans to bring the platform to DirecTV Now customers, as well, as users of the DirecTV satellite service’s companion app, later this year. But as for DirecTV’s core satellite TV service and other AT&T video service, AT&T simply says the rollout will take place “in the coming years.”
Streaming services collected plenty of Emmy nominations this year. Netflix led the pack, with nominations for shows such as Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (both nominated for outstanding comedy series), along with Stranger Things and The Crown (both nominated in the drama category). Amazon’s most high-profile nomination was in the lead actor category, where Jeffrey Tambor was once again nominated for Transparent. And Hulu scored several nominations for The Handmaid’s Tail, including one for outstanding drama series. It’s the first year that Hulu has received Emmy noms in above-the-line major categories. For a complete list of nominees, go here.
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Last month, when Apple announced its new augmented reality development kit, the company made it clear that it intends to dive into AR in a big way; now it looks like the tech giant will make the technology a defining feature of its flagship device. According to Fast Company, Apple has been working to add a rear-facing 3D laser system to its next-gen iPhone, enabling improved depth perception for AR apps. The technology might debut on the 10th anniversary iPhone (likely called the iPhone 8), or possibly on a 2018 phone. The move makes sense. Most analysts predict that the next iPhone will start at around $1,000; if that’s true, it can’t hurt to incorporate some desirable new features.
Bloomberg reports that Facebook is working on a low-cost standalone VR headset, to be released by Oculus sometime in 2018. (Well, low-cost by VR standards: It’ll sell for $200.) The headset, which won’t require a high-end computer or mobile phone, appears to be separate from the higher-end standalone headset project that Facebook announced earlier this year. Rather, the $200 headset will be less powerful, designed to make it easier to consume simple 360-degree videos and VR games. Facebook is reportedly making the device in conjunction with Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone maker.
…Or perhaps let’s not. Fantasy sports sites DraftKings and Fanduel have halted their plans for a merger, citing the Federal Trade Commission’s opposition to the deal. Last month, the agency said it would try to prevent the deal on antitrust grounds. The companies first announced their plans to merge back in November. Between them, they control over 90% of the U.S. market for paid daily fantasy sports competition.
Slate is getting set to debut Conundrums, a new virtual reality talk show for the Facebook Live platform. Actors and celebrities will speak with Slate Culture Editor Dan Kois in a virtual environment, with the aid of VR avatars. It’ll be the first professionally produced Facebook Live show to make use of Spaces, Facebook’s social VR app, as a production platform.
Snapchat has partnered with Formula One for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, as well as for future races. The app will cover the races through its Our Stories feature, putting out curated Snaps from race attendees. It’s the first time that Formula 1 has entered into such a partnership with a major digital platform.  
Amazon Studios is shifting its programming team around. Nick Hall, who previously headed up the unit’s comedy development, is now overseeing drama. Two executives who had been working under Hall at the comedy department, Gina Kwon and Ryan Andolina, have been promoted as co-heads to replace him. They’ll all continue working under Joe Lewis, Amazon Studios’ original programming chief.
Actor/comedian Marc Maron has a role in which recently-premiered Netflix series? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
Our Last Trivia Question: Netflix recently acquired its first foreign-language stand-up comedy special. Who’s the comedian? Answer: Joaquin Reyes. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Alex Kanner-Sublime Skinz/NY, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, and Lorrie Shilling/CA
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This is worth checking out: The animation channel 4096 put together a video showing the evolving layouts of YouTube’s homepage since the site’s launch in 2005. Watch it here.
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