Netflix has endured a largely forgettable 2011, from their much publicized price hike, to their calamitous Qwikster spin off; the situation has even seen subscribers moving on to rival services because of the company’s “arrogance,” as CEO Reed Hastings put it. In fact, shares have dipped 63 percent since July, leaving investors to ask if the once great media giant could regain their footing. More importantly, investors want to see signs that Netflix can make a return to greatness.
Between lower-than-anticipated (subscriber) growth and the reversal of the decision to completely separate the DVD streaming business, these are clearly trying times for Netflix, said Dougherty & Co analyst Steve Frankel. The near term is clouded by higher than anticipated churn, a situation which is likely to negatively impact the fourth quarter as well.
Hastings admitted to The New York Times on Thursday that Netflix’s recent missteps has lead to much “internal reflectiveness” within the company, and assured that things would improve, pointing to their positive cumulative track record. Some analysts share Hastings’s optimism, saying the company’s expected European expansion, superior content library and healthy bottom line will get Netflix back on track.
Additionally, executives within the Los Gatos-based company have said that, while the price increase has had a negative impact on their subscriber base, the higher fees will lead to increased content and improved streaming services looking toward the long term.
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expects Netflix’s third quarter revenue to hit $801.53 million and earnings per share to 94 cents. However, Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente says focus has already shifted squarely on fourth quarter as the holiday shopping period nears, saying that the season is typically strong for the media giant.
Netflix’s services were once unique, but rival companies like Blockbuster and Amazon posses their own respectable offerings, making competition fierce. Not only does this make attracting new subscribers difficult, it makes getting new, quality content harder. With the onset of mobile devices flooding the market, demand for media streaming will become, if it hasn’t already, the preferred way to watch content. Which company will come out on top? Currently Netflix reigns supreme, but for how long?
Have you stuck with Netflix despite their difficult year?