Netflix's worst nightmare comes true
Amazon has signed a content deal significant enough to challenge Netflix for subscribers. And that's not even the worst of it.
By Richard Saintvilus
This would not have been possible had it not been for streaming movie giant Netflix (NFLX). The ease with which the service makes television shows that were old new again is certainly Netflix's best quality to the consumer.
For investors, however, the question is how much worse things can get.
Retail and tech giant Amazon (AMZN) has just signed a content deal significant enough to challenge Netflix for subscribers. Yet that's not even the worst of it.
The deal, announced last week, is with premium TV joint venture Epix, bringing content to Amazon's Prime Instant Video streaming service. Though the terms of the deal were not disclosed, it is said the partnership will bring popular hit movie titles such as "Hunger Games," "Thor" and "Iron Man 2" to Amazon's streaming offerings.
What this means is exactly what many Netflix investors had feared would have occurred -- no more exclusivity.
What was once originally a five-year deal, of which two were exclusive, has lapsed. Now enters Amazon.
But what is Netflix thinking? This continues the streak of yet another misstep for the struggling movie giant, which has seen its stock price erode during the course of the year. Several weeks ago, as the stock traded just above $80 per share, I asked whether the company can stay afloat and survive the unrelenting assaults from Amazon, cable giant Time Warner (TWX) and Coinstar (CSTR) (Redbox).
While it may have been able to avoid death by those three, the story changes when one considers Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) have TV and potentially movie plans of their own. What are the odds that Netflix will survive a living room revolution unlike anything the market as ever seen?
I still maintain that a takeover is its best option. Outside of that, there is no chance Netflix will survive.
By having allowed Amazon to forge a deal with Epix, does Netflix truly appreciate the dire situation it's in? It is as if it no longer values its streaming content -- the same reason it opted to ignore its once-popular DVD model. Now it does not appear to want to protect that decision.
Even worse, during its second-quarter earnings report, Netflix said that although it expects to remain profitable in the third quarter, it is forecasting a loss for the fourth quarter due to international market expansion.
So essentially, the company has, for all intents and purposes, killed off its DVD business, allowing Amazon to chip away at its streaming division by losing exclusivity, but somehow thinks international expansion in Latin America and continental Europe is worth a fourth-quarter loss.
It would stand to reason that a change in focus would be the wise decision until Europe gets its act together. At least that would be the option for a smart management team. However, no one has ever accused Netflix of having one.
I would stay away from the shares until things get more clear in terms of the company's strategic direction. Until then, there is only one direction the stock will go and that is down -- affirming that things can indeed get worse.
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Hey Netflix lost us when they decided that splitting things up was a good idea!
I'm glad some people out there get to watch movies and TV. I work full time, have an hour commute, have to come home to make dinner, do chores, help kids with homework, keep the hubby happy and if there was any time left for TV I would have to fight the rest of the family for it.
Turn off the tube people. Get outside, read a book, spend time with your kids.
It's a good thing I have a lunch hour so I can keep up with all of these important issues.
All kidding aside, enjoy your shows. You will be me someday :-)
Netflix was an ingenious business plan...and until they got greedy and DOUBLED their fees, they were doing fine...now they are in decline.
Catch-back's a mother as Amazon and Apple are now telling Netflix to bend over.
How's it feel Hastings?
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