Netflix shares rocket as Icahn invests and it keeps iron grip on OTT market

Joseph O'Halloran | 01-11-2012

Despite having made some big mistakes over the last year and having had to deal with increased competition, Netflix is still setting the OTT agenda, according to new research, and has just received a large investment from VC legend Carl Icahn that has set its stock ablaze.
In a filing to US financial regulatory bodies, Icahn has taken a 10% stake in the over-the-top video leader, binging about a 14% rise in stock at the end of the day’s trading. Icahn’s modus operandi has been to buy into struggling firms and make substantial changes to their business set-up and prime them for sale. In a number of cases this has meant the removal of existing top level management.
Yet in an interview with Associated Press, Icahn expressed satisfaction with current Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who he described as "an imaginative guy" who has done "a lot of good stuff". Netflix has recently been rumoured as a candidate for buyout by a number of companies, most notably Microsoft from whom Hastings recently resigned as a board member.
The news comes as ABI Research’s OTT Competitive Assessment for 2011 found that Netflix accounted for just over half of the $3.2 billion OTT market in North America despite the blunders of the recent past. The survey found that Netflix had seen off giants such as Amazon and Apple against whom in the US Netflix scored highest on both implementation and innovation, while Amazon and iTunes occupied the second and third positions. Apple edged Amazon for implementation and Amazon was ahead for innovation.
Senior analyst Michael Inouye commented: "In addition to market share, device reach to mobile devices weighed heavily in both the implementation and innovation scores. Apple’s iTunes scored well for its ability to leverage the cohesive Apple ecosystem. While Microsoft’s Xbox Zune video service did not place well in this analysis, the platform overall best depicts the growing importance of the hybridisation between OTT and pay-TV services, making Xbox Live a platform to keep an eye on. Many of these elements were also true for the multiscreen analysis where operators like Cablevision scored lower in part due to device support and lack of differentiators."