Netflix live Chris Rock special won’t ‘move the needle’, but better move than sport: analyst

Netflix (NFLX) released its highly anticipated live-action comedy special with Chris Rock on Saturday – but not everyone thinks the streamer’s foray into live events is worth the hype.

“This is a free publicity operation that will have no impact on their business,” Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told Yahoo Finance Live on Friday ahead of the special’s release. .

“The idea that anyone is going to turn Netflix on by appointment is silly. We don’t even know when regular TV shows are on,” he said, adding that the platform had “formed “consumers to adopt on-demand viewing habits.

“Netflix is ​​still Netflix,” Pachter said bluntly. “It’s not going to move the needle. No one is signing up to Netflix to watch this show.”

According to the Top 10 Streamers list updated weekly on Tuesdays, the stand-up special has racked up enough viewing hours to rank seventh in the US for the week of February 27-March 5, although it did not garner enough views to crack its global ranking. .

Netflix does not detail exact watch time by country, only offering numbers for the Global Top 10 list.

Still, early results were promising considering the Saturday night debut and the fact that it was only available in English at the time of the premiere. Rock’s special began rolling out in other languages ​​this week.

Chris Rock's

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“I don’t think live sports is the way to go”

Streaming platforms have looked for other ways to capture subscriber attention amid increased competition and a lack of programming, spurred by falling content spending as Wall Street focuses on profitability.

Netflix, which spends around $17 billion on content a year, hasn’t yet entered the world of live sports, but rivals like Amazon Prime Video (AMZN) and Google’s YouTube (GOOGL) have certainly secured the rights. on NFL Thursday Night Football and the NFL Sunday Ticket. , respectively.

Amazon reportedly agreed to spend $1 billion a year under an 11-year deal, while Google reportedly paid $2.5 billion to acquire the sought-after Sunday Ticket rights.

“Google is going to fail miserably with buying Sunday Ticket from YouTube. I think it’s going to end up being a disaster for them,” Pachter said, noting that “there’s no way” Amazon or Google earn money on purchase.

“I don’t think live sports is the way to go. Sports leagues have established that their rights are worth billions of dollars, and Netflix just doesn’t have billions to spend on that,” said the analyst, reiterating: “We don’t view Netflix as an appointment TV broadcaster. We view them as an on-demand broadcaster, when we feel like it, and we’ll gorge ourselves on everything (broadcaster).

Pachter maintains an outperform rating on Netflix with a price target of $410 on the stock, suggesting an upside of more than 25% from current levels.

“I love the spirit (of Netflix),” he said, praising the streamer’s recent shift to advertising that “will keep people quitting” at a time when it’s struggling to add subscribers.

“I love that they keep getting back up after they’ve just been knocked to the ground. They keep fighting and they keep trying. They got kicked shit out of themselves for a brief period of time. The mirror and they said “What can we change?”

“There is an opportunity there for profitability because they are reducing their expenses,” he added. “(So) as long as they don’t do dumb things like a sports rights bid and do really smart things like a live Chris Rock bid, then you talk about it, I love the stock.”

Alexandra is a senior entertainment and media reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at

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