Data Sheet—Why Netflix Might Be the Best of the FANG Stocks in 2019

January 18, 2019, 2:07 PM UTC

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Knowledge is good.

Fellow fans of Animal House will recognize this as the delightfully silly and subversive message etched into the base of a statue at the fictional Faber College.

Silly or not, it’s also true. And in the knowledge-imparting department, Apple and Netflix are moving in opposite directions. Apple last year said it will stop giving out iPhone unit sales data. Investors took that as a bad sign of things to come—and were right. Thursday, Netflix accelerated its very recent practice of disclosing viewership data.

Investors were annoyed for other reasons, primarily slower-than-expected revenue growth and forecasts. But there are all sorts of reasons Netflix’s sharing is a happy development. Investors and partners will be glad finally to know how Netflix shows perform. Netflix had been stingy with data on the theory that because it sells no advertising it didn’t have to prove viewership to anyone. It already divulged paid customers, of course. That number is nearly 140 million worldwide.

Despite the swoon in Netflix’s stock—that happens frequently—there’s another reason for optimism about the company. Analyst Mark Mahaney reckons it is the least exposed FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) company to regulatory risk. “Since it’s not an ad-supported business, Netflix may have much less reliance on personally identifiable information, a hot political issue these days,” Mahaney wrote to clients Thursday night. “Netflix is arguably more media- than tech-platform, and thus might avoid the current scrutiny that the latter are facing. And the CEO doesn’t personally own an influential newspaper that expresses opinions independent from political leaders.”


Here are the 50 best workplaces in technology, according to a new Fortune ranking.

Have a good long weekend. Data Sheet returns Tuesday.


Everything is awesome when you're part of a team. In addition to Netflix's quarterly report that Adam discussed, collaboration software maker Atlassian pleased Wall Street with its numbers. Revenue increased 39% to $299 million and adjusted earnings per share almost doubled to 25 cents. Both were better than analysts expected and Atlassian's stock price, already up 76% over the past year, jumped another 8% in premarket trading on Friday.

We are from the planet Duplo. Following news last Friday that Elon Musk's SpaceX was laying off 10% of its workforce comes news this Friday that Elon Musk's Tesla is laying off 7% of its employees. In a memo to staff, Musk said the cuts were necessary as the electric carmaker moved to sell cheaper versions of its Model 3. "We need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles," Musk wrote. Tesla shares, up just 2% over the past year, slid 7% in premarket trading.

You don't have to be the bad guy. Security experts discovered one of the largest caches of stolen online data in history. Dubbed "Collection #1," the data includes 772,904,991 different email addresses and 21,222,975 unique passwords.

I think I just heard a whoosh. In a widely misunderstood story, watchmaker Fossil sold some secret new smartwatch tech to Google for $40 million. But Fossil will continue making its own lines of smartwatches and Google says it will make the new feature(s) available to all companies using its Wear OS platform. Thus the deal does not appear to be the basis for the elusive, imagined "Pixel watch" many Google fans crave.

Not so special anymore. Some Facebook employees got caught leaving 5-star reviews on Amazon for the social network's Portal smart display. Oops. Facebook said the reviews were “neither coordinated nor directed from the company" and the employees would be asked to take them down.

(Headline reference explainer, if needed.)


The Most Powerful Person in Silicon Valley (Fast Company)
Billionaire Masayoshi Son—not Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Mark Zuckerberg—has the most audacious vision for an A.I.-powered utopia where machines control how we live. And he’s spending hundreds of billions of dollars to realize it. Are you ready to live in Masa World?

Jack Dorsey Has No Clue What He Wants (Huffington Post)
A Q&A with Twitter’s CEO on right-wing extremism, Candace Owens, and what he’d do if the president called on his followers to murder journalists.

Lunch With the FT: Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses Need To Think, Who’s Coming To Kill Me?’ (Financial Times)
The tech executive on surviving disruption, politics as combat, and taking on Netflix.

The Man Behind Billionaires’ Row Battles to Sell the World’s Tallest Condo (Wall Street Journal)
Extell’s Gary Barnett remade Manhattan’s skyline and spurred a supertall-tower boom with One57. In a faltering real-estate market, he’s hoping to sell the ultra-rich on Central Park Tower.


We've been hearing for a while that the convergence of clever urban planning and the Internet of Things would bring about a new living space dubbed the smart city. Progress has been made in fits and starts. Tekla Perry reports for IEEE Spectrum on how San Diego is doing after installing thousands of data collection points on street lamps. So far, the city is simply counting vehicles and people as they pass by each sensor. Erik Caldwell, who has the full mouth title "interim deputy chief operating officer for smart and sustainable communities," explains what may happen next:

“It’s not super-exciting yet in terms of applications from the outside looking in,” Caldwell says. “But it’s like we asked for a cold drink of water and got shot in the face with a firehose; it’s a matter of figuring out how we are going to take in this data, first using it internally, and then putting in policies and procedures to make it available for use by the public, including application developers.”


Looking for a Shooting Star? A Satellite Might Be Able to Create 'Meteor Showers' On Demand By Emily Price

Verizon Goes With First Responder Theme for Super Bowl Ads Despite Controversy By Aaron Pressman

GoFundMe Is Churning a Big Business in Raising Money for Medical Bills By Erik Sherman

Hate Assembling IKEA Furniture? This Robot Might Be Able to Help By Erin Corbett

Tim Cook Thinks Consumers Should Have More Control Over Their Data By Emily Price

Facebook Removed Hundreds More ‘Inauthentic’ Accounts Linked to Russia By Renae Reints

Apple, Netflix and YouTube Among Streamers Flouting EU Privacy Law, Say New Complaints By David Meyer


I don't mean to end your Friday on a downer, but one of the plant species most at risk from global climate change is coffee. We may end up having to shift consumption to obscure beans from unusual breeds of coffee plants that have thrived in difficult conditions—if we can produce enough of them. So extra-savor that cup of jo over the long weekend, and we'll see you back here on Tuesday.

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman. Find past issues, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters.

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