Netflix's spectacular flameout
The stock has erased all of its 2012 gains. Here are 4 reasons.
Netflix has erased all of the gains made this year after a series of wild momentum swings. After topping $129 in February, the stock was trading at $70.82 at midday.
What happened to Netflix?
We may be seeing death by a thousand cuts here. There wasn't a single factor, but several smaller events seem to be making investors wary.
Here are four problems hitting Netflix this year:
Disappearing kids' shows? Viacom (VIA) once thought it was a great idea to allow "SpongeBob SquarePants" and other Nickelodeon shows to stream on Netflix. It has added millions to Viacom's annual revenue, after all.
But all those kids' shows on Netflix may be hurting Viacom's ratings. A recent study by Sanford Bernstein found that TV ratings for Viacom and Disney (DIS) suffered in homes with Netflix streaming.
That makes sense. Why would parents hunt around on cable for kids shows when they can pull up a wide array of choices from Netflix? Many Netflix subscribers complain about the lack of selection of movies, but the children's programming is great.
The kids' shift to Netflix is so great, in fact, that Sanford analyst Todd Juenger speculated that Viacom and Disney will "pull their premium kids' programming from Netflix ASAP." That would be a major blow to Netflix, which has already lost a number of significant content offerings in the last year.
Disappointment in Latin America. Netflix has launched in 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean -- a huge initiative that carried some risk. Now, the company is finding that growth in the area hasn't taken off like it did in Canada and parts of Europe.
One problem, according to a company executive, is that people in Latin America aren't as open to the idea of watching programs online, reports The Los Angeles Times.
"Latin America is growing. We're not losing to a competitor," said chief financial officer David Wells at a recent investor conference. "It's just not growing as quickly as we expected when we entered the market."
High programming costs. Licensing programs for Netflix's streaming library costs money. A lot of money. Sometimes, the cost is just too high and Netflix has to dump content. That's what led the company to end its relationship with premium cable network Starz Entertainment last year.
Now, Netflix is planning to spend $3.7 billion on content over the next five years, The Daily Beast reports. Some of that will go to developing the company's own original series. Some will go to licensing programs to fill its massive streaming library. As Netflix's audience has grown, so has the price tag for it to find content. And that's a huge risk for the company going forward.
Doubts about subscriber loyalty. Netflix has a goal of adding 7 million streaming subscribers this year, but analysts aren't buying it. Netflix only added 1.7 million subscribers in the first quarter and was estimating a gain of 800,000 in the second quarter. With that slow growth, is a 7 million gain for the year realistic?
So are there any reasons to buy Netflix right now? A bullish company watcher might view the stock's low price as a buying opportunity.
InvestorPlace recently offered three reasons to buy Netflix. First, the company has 26 million customers and is an entertainment destination. Second, Netflix has immense global potential as it continues to expand into new countries. And finally, the stock's recent plunge has made its valuation more attractive, with a price-to-earnings ratio of 24. But that ratio is still higher than the 21 for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX).
What do you think? Can Netflix shares recover?
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Every article that bashes netflix can only site Starz for content they lost. They offered Starz 300 million for their content, and Starz said no. 300 million Starz never got from anyone else. Who were the greedy ones there?
Netflix streaming is still the best out there as far as content. They have the best library...period. People who say their library sucks...compared to whose? Streaming will never be up to date. Studios want to protect their content for DVD sales as much as possible. The trouble is that studios haven't realized yet that streaming is their best bet against piracy and illegal downloads. If a person can stream a movie from netflix anytime they want, why would someone bother downloading it?
I like hulu too for recent shows, but both hulu's and amazon's library pales in comparison to netflix's.
"...43 countries in Latin America?" Sounds like something of a generous estimate!
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