Netflix (NFLX) stock’s impressive run may be tapering off—on Friday, it finished a fourth consecutive week in the red. The stock turned bearish in recent weeks following the company’s disappointing second-quarter results. Last month, it fell 12% as investors reacted to the threat of emerging competition. Growing costs for new content are also hurting the stock.
Netflix isn’t adding as many users as it once did. In the second quarter, the company added 2.7 million users, whereas it had expected 5 million. It blamed the miss on the growing competition in the streaming business. Things could get even worse when Walt Disney (DIS), Comcast (CMCSA) and AT&T’s (T) WarnerMedia enter the game.
Netflix’s original content investments
Although Netflix has seen many successes since its release of House of Cards, its three-year history of earnings growth could be at risk with the entry of new streaming competition. So far, it has shrugged off competitors with its increased investments. However, the amount the company is spending on new content continues to raise serious concerns. It burnt through $3 billion in cash last year, most spent on strengthening its content library. And that cash burn looks like it will continue—Netflix is open to spending up to $15 billion in purchasing, licensing, and creating content this year.
Recently, the company poached Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss for $200 million, in hopes of strengthening its original content production unit. However, it’s unclear whether the spending spree will pay off as the streaming sector becomes crowded.
While Amazon has presented some competition so far, Disney’s entry into streaming is one reason Netflix stock has nose-dived. Disney will surely be a force to reckon with, given its thriving movie business. The theme-park giant boasts one of the largest content libraries, with high-quality movies, series, and animation.
According to Needham analyst Laura Martin, Netflix could be challenged to compete with Disney’s “aggressive pricing” and “huge library of content.” Furthermore, Apple is open to spending $1 billion on original programming, and AT&T is spending vast sums through WarnerMedia ahead of its streaming service launch.
On average, analysts covering Netflix stock recommend “buy.” Merrill Lynch analyst Nat Schindler cites the company’s healthy profit margins and “expansion opportunities in India” as some reasons to buy its stock.