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Will Netflix’s Gaming Strategy Be a Success?

Investors AlleyWill Netflix’s Gaming Strategy Be a Success?
Wall Street has been very excited lately about an old darling, Netflix (NFLX), thanks to its very successful series, Squid Game. Approximately 142 million member-households watched the show…

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Investors Alley
Will Netflix’s Gaming Strategy Be a Success?

Wall Street has been very excited lately about an old darling, Netflix (NFLX), thanks to its very successful series, Squid Game. Approximately 142 million member-households watched the show in just the first four weeks of its release.

That news drove the stock to an all-time high at just above $700 a share, rising about 23% over the past three months.

However, Netflix management realizes it is next to impossible to deliver hit after hit. That is why the streaming service is trying to boost its product offerings by adding video games.

The strategy makes sense, but Netflix is facing a major impediment to its plans in the form of Apple (AAPL) and its strict App Store policy regarding cloud gaming.

Can the strategy still succeed? Let’s take a closer look.

Netflix for Gamers

In the first week of November, Netflix launched five games through the Android Google Play Store, including two linked to its hit show, Stranger Things. Many of the show’s fans that cannot wait to dive in to “The Upside-Down,” the strange and terrifying alternate dimension depicted in the show.

The games are available to Netflix subscribers. And the nice thing is that there are no ads, additional fees, or in-app purchases.

The company had planned to extend its gaming reach to iPhones as part of its strategy to “build a library of games that offers something for everyone,” but Netflix ran into a major roadblock: Apple’s reluctance to provide cloud gaming services through the App Store.

That means—at least for now—it will not be possible to play the games through the Netflix app on the iPhone or iPad, according to a Bloomberg report.

This is not new for Apple. It has a ban on all-in-one services that would allow a game to be offered within an existing app. Last year, Apple stopped Microsoft from launching its xCloud gaming app through the App Store. It did approve Facebook Gaming, but only after Facebook agreed to strip down its library of playable games.

According to Bloomberg, Netflix will release all its games on the Apple App Store individually, like it has just done on Android. However, unlike with Android, it won’t be possible for Netflix to launch a cloud gaming service for iPhone and iPad users in the future, unless Apple changes its rules.

Of course, this whole space is in a state of flux, thanks to the legal challenge to Apple by Epic Games. The judge in that case did rule that developers should be able to add links to external payment options within their games.

Netflix Needs a Boost

Netflix is hoping more changes are in the works.

That’s because Netflix really needs a boost, as its subscriber growth has been falling after the pandemic-aided surge in 2020.

In the last quarter, year-on-year membership grew just 9.4% to 214 million. At this time last year, the company enjoyed a 23.3% growth in membership. The good news, though, was that revenues were up 16.3% due to a 5% year-on-year rise in average revenue per member.

The reality is that even gaming will not add many new subscribers to Netflix’s base. However, gaming may keep its current base placated as the company gradually raises its monthly fees.

An entertainment industry research firm, MIDiA Research, found that mobile gaming is very popular with Netflix users already. Surveys by Midia show that 71% of mobile gamers subscribe to Netflix compared with just 43% of the wider population.

So—at worst—Netflix is defending its core business. And if its management plays it right, gaming could turn into a big business for Netflix and a profit center, as long as it can expand its gaming offerings to more than just a handful of games.

Until its gaming efforts gain steam, though, the company does have some macroeconomic tailwinds aiding it.

Management cites Nielsen’s estimate that Netflix accounts for only about 6% of television screen time in the U.S., while streaming (as a whole) accounts for only 28% of television viewing. And Netflix is responsible for only about 2% of mobile downloads.

All of these metrics underscore both the highly fragmented nature of television viewing and the company’s opportunity for continued market share growth.

Netflix management expects to expand its market share at the expense of cable and satellite television rather than from its streaming competitors.

And the company is hoping video gaming will be another major positive factor in its effort to gain wider viewership.

We will have to see how well its gaming strategy works, but nevertheless, Netflix is a buy on any weakness down to the $660 to $670 area.

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Will Netflix’s Gaming Strategy Be a Success?
Tony Daltorio

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TSX- and TSXV-Listed Potash Companies

The global potash market is dominated by Canada, the world’s leading potash producer, with Canadian potash companies producing 14 million tonnes in 2020.The potash industry has faced difficulties in the past few years, with prices and stocks dropping,…

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The global potash market is dominated by Canada, the world's leading potash producer, with Canadian potash companies producing 14 million tonnes in 2020.

The potash industry has faced difficulties in the past few years, with prices and stocks dropping, but potash companies have remained resourceful and resilient. The latest test to the potash market comes in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic, and market participants are rising to this challenge as well.

Potash producers continue to push ahead despite headwinds, and exploration companies are working to develop projects to take advantage of rising demand for agricultural products.


For those interested in the market, here's a list of Canadian potash stocks listed on the TSX and TSXV; companies are listed from largest to smallest, and all had market caps of at least C$10 million as of November 30, 2021.

Nutrien


Market cap: C$48.36 billion

Formed on January 1, 2018, after Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and Agrium completed a merger of equals, today Nutrien (TSX:NTR,NYSE:NTR) is Canada's largest potash company.

Nutrien bills itself as the world's largest provider of crop inputs and services, with an agricultural retail network that services more than 500,000 grower accounts. It says it is "committed to providing products and services that help growers optimize crop yields and their returns."

The potash-mining company produces a variety of different materials, but in terms of potash production it has over 20 million tonnes of capacity at its six potash mines in Saskatchewan.

​​Gensource Potash​​


Market cap: C$154.73 million

Gensource Potash's (TSXV:GSP) Vanguard area and Lazlo area projects are located in Saskatchewan. The company's main asset, the Tugaske project in the Vanguard area, is its central focus. Once in operation, it will create no salt tailings and will require no brine ponds. The environmentally friendly project is expected to produce 250,000 tonnes per year of final product at very competitive capital and operating costs.

"Gensource's business plan was created six years ago to specifically become a new and independent potash producer that approaches potash production in a different way," said Gensource Potash CEO Mike Ferguson in early 2020. "We're essentially turning every component of conventional potash production upside down. Our business plan has two pillars. The first is to be small and efficient. The second is to be vertically integrated."

Gensource announced in September 2021 that agricultural chemical company HELM, the offtaker for Tugaske, has committed C$50 million in project equity.

Verde AgriTech 


Market cap: C$97.5 million

Verde AgriTech (TSX:NPK,OTCQB:AMHPF) bills itself as an agri-tech company focused on developing innovative products that promote sustainable agriculture. Its main asset is its Cerrado Verde project, which holds a potassium-rich deposit and is located in the heart of Brazil's largest agricultural market.

Production began at Cerrado Verde in May 2017, and the company later exported its first shipment of Super Greensand, a fertilizer and soil conditioner, to US cannabis and organic markets. As a fertilizer it provides potassium, magnesium, silicon, iron and manganese, and as a soil conditioner it increases the capacity of soil to retain water and nutrients. The company also launched a new product in 2018 called Super Greensand Granular.

After announcing a 169 percent increase in revenue for the the third quarter of 2021, Verde AgriTech revised its annual revenue target up by 120 percent.

Western Resources


Market cap: C$38.37 million

Western Resources (TSX:WRX) and the company's wholly owned subsidiary Western Potash are working to build an environmentally friendly and capital-efficient potash solution mine at the Milestone project in Saskatchewan.

Milestone is close to Mosaic's (NYSE:MOS) Belle Plaine mine, which is one of the largest-producing potash solution mines in the world. Phase 1 development at Milestone is nearing completion, and in November 2020, the company announced an updated NI 43-101 report on the project that extends the mine life from 12 years to 40 years.

Karnalyte Resources


Market cap: C$10.12 million

Karnalyte Resources (TSX:KRN) is an advanced development-stage company focused on its construction-ready Wynyard potash project in Central Saskatchewan. The project also hosts mineable magnesium resources.

The company has completed feasibility studies and has obtained environmental approval for the project. Phase 1 production is targeted at 625,000 tonnes per year of high-grade granular potash and two subsequent phases of 750,000 tonnes per year each will eventually culminate in production of up to 2.125 million tonnes annually.

Karnalyte is also exploring the development of a small-scale nitrogen fertilizer plant, the Proteos nitrogen project, for which it recently completed a feasibility study. Its strategic partner and largest investor is Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals, India's premier fertilizer and chemical manufacturing company.

If we missed a TSX- or TSXV-listed potash company you think should be included on this list, please send an email to editorial@investingnews.com

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2015.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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When Will Uranium Prices Go Up?

Uranium is an important fuel source for the nuclear energy industry. But prices have bottomed out in the past decade, with many investors wondering when the market will rebound.Driven by rising demand and massive supply disruptions, uranium prices shot…

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Uranium is an important fuel source for the nuclear energy industry. But prices have bottomed out in the past decade, with many investors wondering when the market will rebound.

Driven by rising demand and massive supply disruptions, uranium prices shot up in 2007 from US$72 per pound at the start of the year to an all-time high of US$136.22 by early June.

However, in the years since then, the spot price for uranium has mainly tracked downward on a steady slope. Since 2012 and through much of 2021, uranium prices traded under the key US$50 level, falling as low as US$18. However, in September 2021, the spot price for uranium shot up to a nine year high of US$50.80.


The consequences of an enduring low-price environment in the uranium industry have been significant, leading to curtailments in uranium production as well as a dearth of new discoveries. For years, analysts and industry leaders have proclaimed that the uranium spot price needs to rise above US$50 to US$60 — and stay above that point — before such activity becomes economical again.

This most recent uranium price rally came after supply cuts from major producers, including Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom and Canada's Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ), alongside the emergence of the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust (TSX:U.UN). However, uranium’s leap over the critical US$50 level was only a brief blip on the price chart.

The uranium market's years-long trough has investors asking, "When will uranium prices go up?" Before we try to answer that question, we'll have a look at what's moved uranium spot prices in the past, including the energy metal's supply and demand dynamics.

When will uranium prices go up? Historical price action


chart showing uranium's price history over the last 25 years

Uranium has experienced a wide price range this past century — while its highest level was nearly US$140, the lowest U3O8 spot price came in at just US$7.

In 2003, the price of uranium began an upward trend as demand for nuclear power rose alongside the world's need for energy, especially in growth economies such as China and India.

These increasing energy demands came at the same time as significant supply-side disruptions. In 2006, Cameco's massive Cigar Lake mine in Saskatchewan flooded, stalling production for several years at one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the world.

The inability to move this uranium ore to market was a huge setback for the uranium industry, and translated into explosive price growth for the metal in 2007. However, those impressive gains were soon undone by the 2008 economic crisis, which sent the uranium price on a downward spiral, slipping below the key US$50 level in early 2009. In 2010, uranium prices slipped further into the US$40 range.

In 2011, the price of uranium got a serious push to the upside along with other energy metals as the global economy began to recover. The tight supply situation, heightened by years of low prices, also played a part in pushing the spot price past the US$70 level.

After the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the uranium spot price began a slow slide to lows not seen since the start of the century, ultimately bottoming out at US$18 in November 2017. In the decade or so since then, uranium prices have struggled to breach the US$29 level.

In 2020, COVID-19-induced supply disruptions at the world's top uranium mines briefly supported spot price gains of more than 30 percent in the first half of the year, and the uranium price hit a four year high of US$33.93 in May. However, by mid-September, prices had pulled back to the US$29 level.

The launch of the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust and ongoing concerns over potential future uranium supply shortages pushed the uranium spot price across the US$50 threshold in September 2021. But soon, uranium prices were see-sawing between US$38 and US$48 in October and November.

When will uranium prices go up? Supply and demand


Uranium prices are mainly influenced by aboveground mine supply and demand for nuclear energy. To understand where those stand, investors in this sector typically look to:

  • output from uranium mines
  • the number of nuclear reactors online, under construction or planned
  • the signing of long-term contracts between uranium suppliers and utilities companies

Analysts with a bullish lean believe the uranium market cycle has reached its bottom and that a break to the upside for uranium prices is supported by positive supply and demand fundamentals.

On the demand side, nuclear energy generated from 445 reactors around the globe supplies about 10 percent of the world's energy requirements. China alone is constructing 16 new reactors, Russia is constructing three with another 11 planned and India has seven nuclear reactors under construction.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA)'s “Nuclear Fuel Report: Global Scenarios for Demand and Supply Availability 2021-2040” forecasts 2.6 percent annual growth in nuclear generation capacity over the next two decades to reach 615 gigawatts electrical in 2040. About 79,400 tonnes of uranium will be required to feed these reactors in 2030, up from 62,500 tonnes in 2021. This figure is expected to grow to 112,300 tonnes of uranium in 2040.

On the supply side, major uranium producers are still cutting back on their output levels, while new uranium exploration projects are few and far between. The WNA points out that world uranium production dropped from 63,207 tonnes of uranium in 2016 to 47,731 tonnes of uranium in 2020. The organization also notes that “only 74 (percent) of 2020's reactor requirements were covered by primary uranium supply.”

Huge cuts to global uranium production have come from Kazakhstan, the world's largest uranium-producing country. Responsible for 41 percent of global uranium production, the Central Asian nation began reducing its annual production levels in 2018 and plans to continue "flexing down" its uranium output through 2022.

Australia, Namibia, Canada and Uzbekistan are also among the world's biggest uranium producers. In Canada, Cameco shuttered the Saskatchewan-based McArthur River mine in 2018 and temporarily closed Cigar Lake — the world's top uranium mine — in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These supply deficits are likely to continue impacting the uranium market in the years ahead. "Uranium production volumes at existing mines are projected to remain fairly stable until the late 2020s, then decreasing by more than half from 2030 to 2040," the WNA report states. This is also due in part to the lack of uranium exploration in recent years. The organization’s research shows that uranium exploration spending fell by 77 percent, from US$2.12 billion in 2014 to as little as US$483 million in 2018.

When will uranium prices go up? Future forecasts


So when can investors expect to see uranium prices go up? And when will the spot price for the metal once again move above — and stay above — the key US$50 to US$60 level?

In January 2020, Rick Rule, who was then part of Sprott (TSX:SII,NYSE:SII) told the Investing News Network (INN) that investors interested in uranium should be prepared to take the long position — in his opinion, it could be awhile before we see a rebound in the uranium market.

Rule reiterated his stance in a July 2021 interview with INN, pointing to Japanese restarts as the last catalyst needed to launch a new era of strength in the uranium market. “Everything else is in place,” he said at the time.

A true renaissance for uranium might be a few years off, but market participants are likely to see a series of incremental price increases along the way. John Ciampaglia, CEO of Sprott Asset Management, told INN: “The uranium market is not a very big market compared to, say, the oil and gas market and other commodity markets. It doesn't take a lot of capital to come from the generalist pool of capital to make a ripple in the uranium market."

A good gauge for where the winds are blowing is utilities contracts, as these entities are traditionally the greatest sources of uranium demand. Only about 10 to 15 percent of uranium trades happen on the spot market. The vast majority of uranium is sold through large long-term contracts between producers and utilities.

"Everyone is looking for this new contract cycle — when is it going to pick up, where are these deals going to get done in terms of term and price?" Ciampaglia said. "Everyone's looking for these signals in terms of where the longer-term price of uranium is going to drift to."

UxC estimates that by 2030 about two-thirds of utility nuclear fuel requirements will not be covered by contracts, and this will reach 81 percent in 2035. The lack of new uranium projects coming online is a considerable part of this equation. As utility inventories decline, they will come to market willing to accept higher contract prices to replenish their energy fuel stock, and secure future supply lines may happen sooner than later. Much higher long-term contract prices will in turn bring uranium spot prices along for the ride.

There are a wide range of views on uranium's future. Gerado Del Real, co-owner of Digest Publishing, told INN in a November 2021 interview that he believes uranium could hit new record highs in the next 12 to 18 months. His bullish outlook includes the potential for uranium prices to reach the US$200 level within that time period.

In September, Bank of America analyst Lawson Winder set his uranium spot price target for 2022 at US$53.50, and his 2023 target at US$48.50. As of December 1, analysts at Trading Economics were forecasting that uranium would trade at US$42.82 in 12 months time.

Still other uranium market watchers have cautioned that a near-term rebound in the uranium market is a tough call to make. Mercenary Geologist Mickey Fulp has advised, "Not even insiders have an idea of when this is going to turn because the market is so opaque."

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2020.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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What Are the Advantages of Wind Energy and Solar Energy?

Wind power and solar power are considered the two primary choices for clean energy.As clean technologies, both solar energy and wind power significantly decrease pollution and have minimal operational costs. These are attractive reasons to make the switch

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Wind power and solar power are considered the two primary choices for clean energy.

As clean technologies, both solar energy and wind power significantly decrease pollution and have minimal operational costs. These are attractive reasons to make the switch to clean energy solutions — but there's certainly more to wind and solar energy than that.

Here the Investing News Network provides a brief introduction to wind energy and solar energy, from the advantages of renewable energy to the future outlook for these clean energy technologies.


What are wind energy and solar energy?


Putting it simply, wind energy is the process of using the air flowing through wind turbines to automatically generate power by converting the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical power.

Wind energy can provide electricity for utility grids and homes, and can be used to charge batteries and pump water. The three main kinds of wind power are broken down as follows by the American Wind Energy Association:

  • Utility-scale wind: Wind turbines bigger than 100 kilowatts that deliver electricity to power grids and end users via electric utilities or power system operators.
  • Distributed wind: Wind turbines smaller than 100 kilowatts that are used to directly provide power to homes, farms or small businesses.
  • Offshore wind: Wind turbines placed in large bodies of water, generally on the continental shelf.

Interestingly, wind energy can also be considered an indirect form of solar energy. That's because winds are widely described as being caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the Earth's surface and rotation of the Earth.

Solar power is energy derived from the sun's rays and then converted into thermal or electrical energy.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar energy can be created in the following three ways: photovoltaics, solar heating and cooling and concentrating solar power.

  • Photovoltaics: Generates electricity directly from sunlight via an electronic process to power small electronics, road signs, homes and large commercial businesses.
  • Solar heating and cooling: Uses the heat generated by the sun to provide water heating or space heating and cooling.
  • Concentrating solar power: Uses the heat generated by the sun to run traditional electricity-generating turbines.

What are the advantages of wind energy and solar energy?


With the basics of wind and solar energy in mind, let's look at the advantages of these two clean energy sources.

As carbon-free, renewable energy sources, wind and solar can help reduce the world's dependence on oil and gas. These carbon fuels are responsible for harmful greenhouse gas emissions that affect air, water and soil quality, and contribute to environmental degradation and climate change.

Aside from that, wind and solar energy can give homeowners and businesses the ability to generate and store electricity onsite, giving them backup power when their needs cannot be filled by the traditional utilities grid.

For example, during California's most recent wildfire season, large-scale utilities companies such as PG&E (NYSE:PCG) shut off power to tens of thousands of people in an effort to prevent fires like those linked to downed power lines. In cases like this, solar energy generated onsite could not only help fight climate change, but also act as a reliable backup source of energy.

Solar panel installations are easy to do and can also create energy bill savings. In some regions, users may qualify for tax breaks or energy rebates if they produce excess energy that can be delivered to the utility grid. In Canada, there are at least 78 clean energy incentive programs available that offer a combined total of 285 energy-efficiency rebates and 27 renewable energy rebates.

Both solar energy and wind energy are on the path to becoming the world's most affordable sources of energy.

"Land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today, costing 1-2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) after the production tax credit," according to the US Department of Energy. "Because the electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price over a long period of time (e.g. 20+ years) and its fuel is free, wind energy mitigates the price uncertainty that fuel costs add to traditional sources of energy."

The price of harnessing the sun's power is dropping each year due to technology advancements. In fact, the cost of residential photovoltaic solar power has slid from US$0.50 per kWh in 2010 to US$0.128 per kWh in 2020, according to US Department of Energy figures. The US agency estimates that solar costs will fall further to US$0.05 by 2030. On a grander scale, utility photovoltaic costs already sat at only US$0.045 as of 2020.

Future outlook for wind energy and solar energy


Looking ahead for wind energy, the Global Wind Energy Council estimates that 435 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity will be added from 2021 to 2025. Government support will be a key driver, giving way to market-based growth.

"The world needs to be installing an average of 180 GW of new wind energy every year to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels," state the report's authors, "and will need to install up to 280 GW annually from 2030 onwards to maintain a pathway compliant with meeting net zero by 2050."

As for solar energy, the International Energy Association's (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2021 report pegs solar as now cheaper than coal. Along with wind energy, solar energy is expected to make up 80 percent of the global electric energy market by 2030. "Since 2016, global investment in the power sector has consistently been higher than in oil and gas supply," explains the IEA report. "The faster that clean energy transitions proceed, the wider this gap becomes, and as a result electricity becomes the central arena for energy-related financial transactions."

Lux Research predicts that the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources will be accelerated by several years due to the impact COVID-19 is having on energy markets all over the world.

The firm notes that economic relief packages contain trillions of dollars for renewable energy technology research and development, and for the deployment of low- and zero-carbon infrastructure. By 2025, Lux sees COVID-19 resulting in accelerated investment in energy storage and power-generation projects.

Ways to invest in wind and solar energy


There are many investment opportunities in the renewable energy markets.

For investors interested in wind energy, there is the First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy Index Fund (ARCA:FAN), which was created on June 16, 2008. It tracks 50 holdings, including wind energy giants Vestas Wind Systems (OTC Pink:VWSYF), Boralex (TSX:BLX) and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (OTC Pink:GCTAF), to name a few.

Our list of renewable energy stocks on the TSX may also be worth considering.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Technology for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistlli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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