Streaming giant Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) finds itself in the center of a lawsuit over the upcoming Zack Snyder sci-fi epic Rebel Moon. NFLX has been sued for axing a gaming development contract based on filmmaker Snyder’s much-anticipated franchise, originally created as a “Star Wars” movie.
On September 28, 2023, Evil Genius Games filed a lawsuit against NFLX at the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California. Evil Genius Games is a popular developer and publisher of tabletop role-playing games based on major motion picture franchises.
The plaintiff has claimed that it had begun working with NFLX earlier this year to develop a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) based on Snyder’s “Rebel Moon,” and the game’s release was supposed to have coincided with the release of the first film’s streaming release on December 22, 2023.
According to the plaintiff, when the two parties started working on the project earlier this year, NFLX had a Rebel Moon movie script, a rough idea about the Rebel Moon universe, and a few cursory graphical assets. However, the script was missing background information vital to the story.
In the court documents, Evil Genius claimed that they not only did the work they were required to do but also supplied all the missing pieces and created a well-integrated backstory for the whole franchise. The plaintiff came up with a 228-page World Bible, a 430-page Player’s Guide, and a 337-page Game Master’s Guide.
Evil Genius had paid NFLX for a license and agreed to share profits from the licensed articles with NFLX. Despite having collaborated for months, NFLX decided to pull the plug on the project on May 25, weeks after the work was finalized and turned over to the streamer.
NFLX alleged that Evil Genius had violated the confidentiality agreement for “Rebel Moon” and violated its trust by sharing artwork at an industry trade show in March 2023. However, the plaintiff maintains that they had acquired NFLX’s permission to show artwork from the game at the 2023 Game Manufacturers Associate Exposition to “create some industry buzz” for the project.
According to the court documents, Evil Genius alleged that two NFLX employees were present at the event and helped hand out materials to retailers at the show. The legal filing states that “It became clear that Netflix was simply using the alleged breach and termination to hijack (Evil Genius’) intellectual property and prevent (Evil Genius’) from releasing the game.”
Evil Genius CEO David Scott said, “Our aim is to ensure our team is recognized for their fantastic work, and that we can release this game for millions of enthusiasts to enjoy. It’s disheartening to see Netflix backpedal on content that was jointly showcased and had received their prior consent. We urge our supporters to contact Netflix and Zack Snyder to push for the release of this game.”
While the allegations on NFLX are severe, the streamer has yet to comment on the lawsuit. In this scenario, investors could look to buy streaming stocks Comcast Corporation (CMCSA), The Walt Disney Company (DIS), Roku, Inc. (ROKU), and Paramount Global (PARA) as they are likely to benefit from NFLX’s bad press.
Let’s delve into the fundamentals of these stocks.
CMCSA is a media and technology company. Its segments include the Cable Communications segment, Media, and the Studios segment, which includes film and television studio production and distribution operations. The company has three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky.
CMCSA’s revenue grew at a CAGR of 4.6% over the past three years. Its EBITDA grew at a CAGR of 4.1% over the past three years. In addition, its EBIT grew at a CAGR of 4.7% in the same time frame.
CMCSA’s revenue for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023, increased 1.7% year-over-year to $30.51 billion. Its adjusted EBITDA rose 4.2% over the prior-year quarter to $10.24 billion. The company’s adjusted net income increased 4.8% year-over-year to $4.72 billion. Also, its adjusted EPS came in at $1.13, representing an increase of 11.9% year-over-year.
For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, CMCSA’s EPS and revenue are expected to decline 1.4% and 0.4% year-over-year to $0.95 and $29.73 billion, respectively. It surpassed consensus EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.
DIS operates as an entertainment company worldwide. The company engages in film and episodic television content production and distribution activities. It operates through two segments, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution; and Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products.
On September 11, 2023, DIS and Charter Communications (CHTR) announced a transformative, multiyear distribution agreement to maximize value for consumers and support the linear TV experience. Due to the deal, most DIS networks and stations will be restored to Spectrum’s video customers.
DIS’ revenue grew at a CAGR of 8% over the past three years. Its EBIT grew at a CAGR of 4.6% over the past three years. In addition, its EBITDA grew at a CAGR of 2.5% in the same time frame.
For the third quarter ended on July 1, 2023, DIS’ revenues increased 3.8% year-over-year to $22.33 billion. Its net loss attributable to DIS came in at $460 million, compared to a net income attributable of $1.41 billion in the prior-year quarter.
The company’s loss per share came in at $0.25, compared to an EPS of $0.77 in the prior-year quarter. Also, its cash provided by continuing operations increased 45.8% year-over-year to $2.80 billion. In addition, its free cash flow increased 775.4% year-over-year to $1.64 billion.
Analysts expect DIS’ EPS and revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2023, to increase 153.2% and 6.4% year-over-year to $0.76 and $21.44 billion, respectively.
ROKU operates a TV streaming platform. The company operates in two segments: Platform and Devices. Its streaming platform allows users to find and access TV shows, movies, news, sports, and others. The company also provides digital advertising and related services. In addition, it offers billing services; and brand sponsorship and promotions, as well as manufactures, sells, and licenses smart TVs under the Roku TV name.
On August 31, 2023, ROKU and TV Azteca announced a strategic partnership that will enable brands and agencies to purchase TV streaming advertising on the Roku platform in Mexico through TV Azteca.
ROKU’s International Advertising Vice President Mirjam Laux said, “The collaboration with TV Azteca increases our reach in the market and is a significant step to expand our growing ad sales business in Mexico. Working with TV Azteca, a trusted media group with deep connections to brands and advertisers, helps us to accelerate our advertising business and create more impactful marketing.”
ROKU’s revenue grew at a CAGR of 33.6% over the past three years. Its Tang Book Value grew at a CAGR of 32.3% over the past three years. In addition, its Total Assets grew at a CAGR of 31.1% in the same time frame.
ROKU’s total net revenue for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023, increased 10.8% year-over-year to $847.19 million. Its total gross profit rose 6.5% year-over-year to $378.27 million. The company’s net loss narrowed 4.2% year-over-year to $107.60 million. Also, its loss per share narrowed 7.3% year-over-year to $0.76.
Street expects ROKU’s revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2023, is expected to increase 11.6% year-over-year to $849.38 million. Its EPS for the same quarter is expected to decline 124.5% year-over-year to $1.98. It surpassed the Street EPS estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.
PARA operates as a media and entertainment company worldwide. The company operates through TV Media, Direct-to-Consumer, and Filmed Entertainment segments.
On August 7, 2023, PARA and KKR announced signing an agreement pursuant to which KKR will acquire Simon & Schuster. PARA’s President and CEO Bob Bakish said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement on a transaction that delivers excellent value to Paramount shareholders while also positioning Simon & Schuster for its next phase of growth with KKR.”
“The proceeds will give Paramount additional financial flexibility and greater ability to create long-term value for shareholders while also delivering our balance sheet,” he added.
PARA’s revenue grew at a CAGR of 5.7% over the past three years. Its levered FCF grew at a CAGR of 2.3% over the past three years. In addition, its Total Assets grew at a CAGR of 2.7% in the same time frame.
For the fiscal second quarter ended June 30, 2023, PARA’s revenue declined 2.1% year-over-year to $7.62 billion. Its adjusted OIBDA declined 37% over the prior-year quarter to $606 million.
The company’s adjusted net earnings from continuing operations attributable to PARA declined 81.4% year-over-year to $80 million. Its adjusted EPS from continuing operations attributable to PARA came in at $0.10, representing a decline of 84.4% year-over-year.
For the quarter ended September 30, 2023, PARA’s revenue is expected to increase 4.2% year-over-year to $7.21 billion. Its EPS for the same quarter is expected to decline 70.9% year-over-year to $0.11.