Here are the editor's top picks for the week.
Netflix Q3 highlights growth, uncertainty as competitive pressures mount
Netflix Inc.'s quarterly earnings revealed Wall Street's worst fears had not come to pass, but with Disney+ set to bow in the fourth quarter, its biggest competitive test yet may lie ahead. Netflix's stock initially jumped after it reported earnings Oct. 16 but then seesawed as investors and analysts digested the company's acknowledgment that rising competition from The Walt Disney Co. and other deep-pocketed rivals is likely to lead to tougher times in the near-term.
Station group CEOs look to ad targeting, sports betting, cannabis for growth
While TV stations are expected to benefit from $3 billion or more in political advertising in the 2020 election cycle, station group CEOs are eyeing a major boost to their ad businesses down the road. Local TV executives on the NAB Show New York said their core advertising businesses are continuing to shift. Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar Media Group Inc., said legal has surpassed quick-service restaurants as the No. 2 advertising category for Nexstar behind automotive. Meanwhile, Pat LaPlatney, president and co-CEO of Gray Television Inc., said station viewing has been diffused across apps, websites, streaming outlets and other devices.
Google unveils new Pixel phones, laptop, other devices
Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC debuted revamped Pixel smartphones, a smart home hub device, the Chromebook laptop, wireless earbuds and others at an Oct. 15 event. The Pixel 4, retailing for $799, and the larger Pixel 4 XL, starting at $899, include a new telephoto lens that captures higher-quality photos, as well as an HDR+ feature that allows users to see exactly how their photos will look before shooting.
Sports media company Whistle to launch ad-supported streaming network in Q4
Sports media and entertainment company Whistle Sports Inc. is preparing to bow a linear streaming channel late in the fourth quarter. The ad-supported network will run 24 hours a day, offering a mix of original programming and episodic content, featuring popular social media influencers, as well as movies and documentaries.
Charter closes gap with Verizon for fastest US Netflix streaming in September
Netflix Inc.'s recently released speed index update showed that September ended with a tie between Verizon Communications Inc.'s Fios fiber offering and Charter Communications Inc.'s Spectrum cable broadband, both of which averaged streaming speeds of 4.52 Mbps in the U.S. prime-time viewing window. Nearly all of the 13 major U.S. internet providers tracked by Netflix showed month-over-month improvement in average speeds, but Fios lagged its closest competition by the amount of its improvement between August and September.