First Click: SpaceX crash, Bowie hits No. 1, and a preview of the week ahead

January 18th, 2016

We’re entering earnings season again. While the financials themselves might be a little boring, some numbers do highlight broader industry trends. IBM, AMD, and Verizon all report this week, but our eyes will be fixed on Netflix and its fourth-quarter results release on Tuesday.

Netflix continues to be one of, if not, the biggest disrupters to ever take aim at traditional television. So everyone will be watching for those Netflix subscriber numbers come Tuesday, especially new US subscribers where the company disappointed last quarter with just 880,000 additions — well off from its target of 1.15 million. Now Wall Street is expecting Netflix to produce1.62 million new subscribers for the three month period that ended on December 31st (Netflix’s own guidance was 1.3 million). In October, Netflix launched in Spain, Portugal, and Italy leading analysts to predict 3.5 million new international additions for the quarter. The company also announced a simultaneous launch in 130 additional countries across the globe last week but those subscribers won’t be reflected in Tuesday’s count. Netflix has been moving aggressively into original programming in order to attract more eyeballs and was rewarded with two Oscar nominations last week for What Happened Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.

The Sundance Film Festival is also kicking off this week. In 2016, Sundance received 12,793 film submissions from 120 countries. Of these, only 200 or so feature-length films and shorts were selected for viewing starting Thursday. Notable films previously introduced at the Festival include Whiplash, Boyhood, Reservoir Dogs, and Napoleon Dynamite. It’ll be our second year at Robert Redford’s festival in scenic Park City, Utah. Why, you ask? I’ll let The Verge’s esteemed entertainment editor Emily Yoshida answer the question she pondered herself last year:

"This festival, along with a handful of major international festivals throughout the year, is one of the few chances we have to see movies with close to no interference. By the time the chosen ones of Sundance, Cannes, or Venice make their way to your local Cool Theatre, there will already be a storyline around them, molding your expectations. "The third act comes out of nowhere." "There’s no way so-and-so doesn’t get an Oscar nod this year." "I bet you so-and-so ends up helming Ant-Man IV." In an era in which a film occupies your awareness over months of marketing and buildup and two hours of inevitable letdown, it’s exciting to just plop yourself down in a theatre with little more than a title, a director, and a longline to go on."

But that’s all yet to come. First, let’s catch up on the weekend that was.

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