Netflix Inc. (NFLX) is expanding its original series portfolio. It will stream Mitt, directed by Greg Whiteley from Jan 24, only a week after the documentary premieres at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on Jan 17.
Mitt follows republican nominee Mitt Romney’s journey toward the presidency, which he eventually lost to Barack Obama. The documentary covers the time period beginning Christmas 2006 through his presidential concession speech in 2012.
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The availability of the documentary within a short span of its premiere reflects Netflix’s continuing focus on improving customer engagement. This has been the primary reason behind its success in the recent times.
In the recently concluded third quarter of 2013, Netflix’s subscriber base increased 10.87 million year over year to 40.28 million. Sequentially, total subscriber growth was 2.72 million.
This strong subscriber addition was primarily driven by Netflix’s expanding content portfolio that includes original productions such as Orange is the New Black, Lillyhammer, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove as well as the complete seasons of popular shows from other production houses like Fox.
In November, Netflix announced that it will exclusively stream the six-episode season finale of The Killing, produced by Fox. The detective program was cancelled by AMC Networks (AMCX) after its second season. Fox revived the series and co-produced the third season along with Netflix.
Netflix has inked partnerships with major film studios and production houses, such as DreamWorks Animation, The Wachowskis (creators of The Matrix trilogy) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), Gaumont International, Sony Pictures and The Weinstein Company (TWC).
These deals will help Netflix to stream original shows such as Turbo F.A.S.T. (Dec 2013), Sense 8 (some time in 2014) and Narcos over the next 12 months. The company is also expected to stream the drama seriesMarco Polo, produced by TWC.
Netflix’s partnership deal with Walt Disney’s (DIS) Marvel Entertainment will bring at least four new 13-episode series and a mini-series based on characters such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage on Netflix, beginning 2015.
These deals have not only helped expand Netflix’s content portfolio but also enabled it to venture into different genres like comedy, political thrillers, autobiographies and horror. Moreover, the expanded content portfolio provides a significant competitive edge over peers that include HBO and Amazon (AMZN).
Although, Netflix’s continuous subscriber loss in its DVD business and higher spending on content acquisition are concerns, the company’s growing subscriber base and international expansions are major growth factors in the near term.
Currently, Netflix has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).