Everyone in the entertainment business loves Netflix. It throws money around like it’s water and provides lots of work for lots of teams.
I, however, canceled my subscription about four months ago.
I find the programming too cookie-cutter for my liking. It seemed like every new show followed the same pattern with different-looking characters. I was bored. Even more importantly, my kids had also stopped using it.
I can accept that I may not be part of the demographic Netflix is going after, but my daughters are a different story. They’re also not interested in the kinds of shows Netflix is making. When they were younger, they complained that Netflix’s kids’ programming was awful.
The company has been a darling of tech investors for the last decade. After all, most of us can remember when it used to mail out DVDs. To go from such humble beginnings to disrupting tech is a truly impressive feat.
The share’s performance over the last decade has been nothing short of astounding. The big question is, have we seen the best of the gains?
Netflix has grown about as big as it can in the U.S. market. It’s safe to say everyone who wants a subscription already has one. The only way it can justify its valuation is if it continues to expand overseas.
The biggest market the company is trying to break into is India. 4G internet is new there. Netflix wants to make sure it provides India’s first streaming experience. The problem is YouTube is free, and creating dedicated programming is expensive. Success is also about long-term growth rather than a swift payout.
At the same time, Netflix is facing a lot more competition at home. Disney+ is less than a year old but now represents the core of the Disney franchise. The company tinkered with pay-per-view for the recent Mulan movie. It didn’t work. Now Disney’s going all in on streaming. It’s only a matter of time before it folds Hulu (which it owns the majority of) into Disney+.
HBO Max and Amazon Prime are also serious competitors in the U.S. market. And there are other new services popping up all the time.
The communications sector spent much of the last decade unbundling everything. Many people are wondering when the re-bundling is going to happen. With so many streaming services, it’s reasonable to conclude not all will survive.
Netflix posted quarterly results yesterday. The company stated the bump from the pandemic will be difficult to repeat next year. I’ve been saying for a while that the pandemic is an accelerant. It pulled forward sales from the future into 2020. That suggests growth in the coming couple of years could come in well below expectations.
There’s a real chance Netflix’s stock (NFLX) has peaked. At a minimum, the exceptional growth of the last decade will moderate, and the share has no reason to rally like it used to.
This is a topic I’ve been considering for a while. The FAANMG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Microsoft, and Google) shares have been the champions of the market for the last decade. It’s unlikely they’ll grow like that again in the decade to 2030.
There just aren’t enough people in the world to buy phones or computers or scroll through social media to make that happen. By the time we come out the other end of the pandemic, I believe we’ll see a significant rotation out of the mega-caps and into the real, physical world.
All the best,