Netflix stock rose nearly 4% Tuesday - the biggest move on an otherwise sleepy day for media and technology shares - after investors absorbed newly released global subscriber data.
The stock hit $316, its highest level in three weeks, heading toward the final hour of the trading day. While Netflix shares spent several months below its level at the start of 2019, recent gains have pushed them into positive territory for the year to date. A debate has been percolating for months in industry and financial circles about the long-term trajectory of Netflix. Bears view the company as a debt-dependent spendthrift beset by new rivals, while bulls venerate it as a first mover with a sizable tech and talent advantage.
In an SEC filing Monday, the streaming giant followed through on its promise to change the way it reports subscriber totals and revenue. The filing laid out nearly three years’ worth of financial results, broken out by four global regions: the U.S. and Canada; Europe, the Middle East and Africa; Latin America and Asia-Pacific. The takeaway, as several Wall Street analysts noted Tuesday, was a strong sense of the international growth story, which has been under way for several years.
U.S. subscriber levels have flattened of late, prompting a few Wall Street media and tech watchers to wave a caution flag, especially with Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal now entering the streaming arena with major new offerings.
Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne has an “overweight” buy rating on Netflix shares, with a 12-month price target of $400. In a note to clients Tuesday, he wrote that Netflix’s pricing power is “intact” in many areas of the world, in contrast to the perception that it is somewhat vulnerable on price in the U.S. “Strong growth in even emerging markets like Latin America highlights the ability to sustain growth years after launch, with opportunity ahead in Asia,” Swinburne wrote.
Michael Morris, an analyst with Guggenheim, also has a “buy” on Netflix shares. In a note to clients on Tuesday, he indicated several reasons for “value creation optimism,” among them rising broadband penetration rates in some developing parts of the world.
“As Netflix continues to pursue global growth, we expect the company will experiment with and in multiple cases deploy lower price point offers to expand the user base. Important to value creation will be the input cost to pursue these lower-average monthly revenue subscribers. We believe that Netflix financial performance will incrementally reflect the scale benefit of global content investments, which are characterized by both broad consumer appeal across cultures particularly with the significant expansion of film content and uniform global availability across markets.”
Rich Greenfield of Lightshed Partners, a prolific and consistently pro-Netflix voice on social media, wrote in a blog post that the new numbers were not surprising but help support the bull case for the company. “Simply put,” Greenfield and his partners wrote, “the global growth opportunity is significant, particularly as Netflix leverages a large U.S. content base and invests heavily in local/regional content. It is not hard to imagine Netflix reaching 200-250 million international subscribers in the future.”
Netflix, which reported having 158 million subscribers as of the third quarter, will report its fourth-quarter and full-year results on January 21.
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...