If “content is king,” as media industry executives often say, then Netflix has a formidable kingdom with which to keep other streaming contenders at bay. As of its latest quarter, the company had some $27 billion of “content assets,” both licensed and produced.
That’s impressive. But it’s also hard to understand why decades-old content—and content whose arrival was announced nearly two years ago at that—might spur a gain in Netflix shares. This past Wednesday, after the company tweeted that all 180 episodes of Seinfeld would be available on Netflix on Oct. 1, its shares flirted with a record closing high before ending the day up 2.3%.
In 2019, Netflix reportedly paid more than $500 million to secure the rights to the series from Sony Pictures Television for five years. Talking about the deal in October 2019, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, noted that Seinfeld was one of the few television shows “that continue to be incredibly relevant” 30 years later.
“It’s kind of a comfort-view comedy that travels around the world,” he said. As the long-life successes of The Office and Friends have shown, there is clearly an audience for such “comfort-view comedy”—a viewership that is valuable to any streaming service.
Another reason that news of Seinfeld reruns might have given investors comfort: Over the original life of the show—from July 1989 to May 1998—the S&P 500 had a total return of 344%, according to Dow Jones Market Data. That’s gold, Jerry.
More than 75% of the S&P 500 reported better earnings in the second quarter of 2021 than in 2019. The S&P and Nasdaq Composite set new highs, despite a Delta variant surge. U.S. manufacturing accelerated in August, while Asia slowed; jobless claims fell to a pandemic low, but the jobs number skidded to a mere 235,000, dealing a blow to a September taper. Stocks then faded. On the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2%, to 35,369.09; the S&P rose 0.6%, to 4535.43; and the Nasdaq gained 1.5%, to 15,363.52.
U.S. drone strikes killed two terrorist leaders thought to be behind the Kabul airport bombing, and the last U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan, ending the 20-year war. The final number of people airlifted out of Kabul: some 123,000.
The Gulf Coast was inundated by Hurricane Ida 16 years to the day after Katrina hit it, bringing storm surge, rain, and hurricane-force winds. But while power went out across the region— Entergy said 2,000 miles of lines were knocked down, and a million people were left in the heat and dark—the $15 billion investment in pumps and levees in New Orleans held. Ida then moved north, killing at least 45, mostly in flash floods.
China banned children from playing videogames on school nights, and for no more than an hour a day on Fridays, weekends, and holidays—a blow to gaming companies like NetEase and Tencent. The government called gaming a form of “youth addiction.” Separately, China President Xi Jinping announced a new Beijing tech exchange, while technology giants rushed to fund his “common prosperity” initiative.
Seven men and five women will sit on the jury in the trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. Federal prosecutors have charged Holmes with 12 counts of fraud and wire fraud in making false claims for the company’s blood-testing technology. Theranos, which once had a $9 billion valuation, collapsed in 2018, after The Wall Street Journal reported on problems with the technology.
Hedge fund TCI, the largest holder of Canadian National Railway shares, urged the railroad to drop its pursuit of Kansas City Southern after a U.S. regulator rejected a voting trust structure that is critical to the $34 billion bid. TCI also called for the resignations of CN’s chairman and CEO. CN is battling with Canadian Pacific for KCS…A bankruptcy court approved a $4.5 billion settlement in the Purdue Pharma case, shielding the founding Sackler family from civil suits. Purdue, maker of OxyContin, will liquidate… SoftBank Group pumped $200 million into digital fitness tracker Whoop, giving it a $3.6 billion market value….James Simons, Robert Mercer, and other executives at quant pioneer Renaissance Technologies will pay $7 billion to settle a long-running tax case.