Biz Break: Netflix mixes it up with ‘Chelsea’ debut

Top Of The Order:

Call It “Chelsea Nightly. Sort Of”: Netflix launched one of its biggest-named shows of late on Wednesday. In fact, the show just needed one name, one person’s name, to (hopefully, for Netflix) get the attention of viewers in 190 countries around the world.

Chelsea. As in talk show host/author/irreverent connoisseur of irreverence Chelsea Handler. “Chelsea” is the name of Handler’s new program, too.

Handler finally premiered her new talk show at midnight Wednesday, more than a year-and-a-half after putting an end to her “Chelsea Lately” show on the E! television network. “Chelsea” has been in the works almost since then, and, as Handler promised a different kind of talk show, Netflix is rolling it out in a different manner than any other program it has produced.

New episodes of “Chelsea” will air Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with each show streaming at midnight those days, and in every country where Netflix is available. That move alone makes “Chelsea” unique in the Netflix universe, as the company made its name, and it could be argued upended the TV broadcasting model, by putting entire seasons of its original programs online all at once.

“I think this is the only Netflix original TV series that is being presented in serial form,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst who covers Netflix for Wedbush Securities. ” Subscribers may have an issue with that, as they have been conditioned to expect everything to be available for binge watching immediately.”

At least for her first show, Handler seemed to try too hard to be unique. She spent most of her monologue talking about how she didn’t want to do a monologue. She said she sprung for a desk and then sat at it. She let one of her dogs roam around the set as she talked to Secretary of Education John King. She drank rose wine with Drew Barrymore. Pitbull showed up.

Oh, and the show began with Coldplay singer Chris Martin doing some song about Handler and her show. Because nothing says “earnest” like the guy who was the third wheel behind Beyonce and Bruno Mars at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

Still, for the most part, one show isn’t enough to tell if a program will be a hit or a dud. And Netflix is in with Handler for the long haul. After all, Handler herself approached Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, about her doing something for Netflix almost as soon as she left E! back in 2014. The “network,” if you will, needs Handler to draw in the new members that are necessary for it to keep expanding.

“They (Netflix) have to try a lot of things before they figure out what their audience wants,” Pachter said. “I think Handler has limited appeal, but we could say that for Adam Sandler, “Narcos,” “Orange is the New Black,” etc.  Netflix is so huge that they have to make content that is desired by only a small portion of their audience, and if they get the mix right, they’ll keep their subscriber numbers in growth mode.”

Middle Innings: 

It’s Worth How Much?: The federal trial between Oracle and Google, in which Oracle claims Google has illegally used the Java programming language as part of its Android smartphone operating system, was guaranteed to be big. But even by Larry Ellison standards, $42 billion is something huge.

That’s because $42 billion in sales, and $21 billion in earnings are what Oracle claims Google has made from more than 3 billion activations of Android phones. And in Oracle’s mind, since Google has activated all of those phones without licensing Java, well, Google needs to go to its vault and dust off some cash and make good with the software giant.

Oracle wants to be reasonable, of course. They don’t want everything that Google has made off Android. Just $9.3 billion.

And If Oracle Wasn’t Enough…: Google is the king of Internet search. There’s no denying that. But, is the company that used to have (and may still have) as its mantra the phrase, “Don’t be evil” really just a bully in the Internet search market?

The Federal Trade Commission is, reportedly, in the very early stages of thinking about looking at whether Google has abused its position in the Internet search sector. Or, rather, looking again at Google about such matters. The FTC had earlier pursued a case against Google, but decided not to levy any charges against the company in 2013.

Bottom Of The Lineup: 

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Wednesday…

Movin’ On Up: Gains came from Electronic Arts, which saw its shares rise more than 13 percent after the video game publisher reported strong quarterly results late Tuesday. Other advancers included Aemetis, SolarCity, SunPower and Integrated Device Technology.

In The Red: The day’s losers included QuinStreet, down almost 12 percent, and Zeltiq Aesthetics, Harmonic, Rocket Fuel and Yelp.

The SV150 Index of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies shed 0.5 percent to close at 1,588.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1 percent to 4,760.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 1.2 percent to close at 17,711.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended the day down by 1 percent at 2,064.

Quote Of The Day: “How I play the game is how I know how to play the game.” — Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, upon being named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second-straight year. Curry also became the first player to ever win the award unanimously.

Sign up for the 60-Second Business Break newsletter at www.siliconvalley.com.

Photo: TV host/comedian Chelsea Handler, star of a new Netflix series, attends Goldie Hawn’s annual “Goldie’s Love in for Kids” event in Beverly Hills, California, on May 6, 2016. (Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images)

 

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