Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has tried to sell investors on the idea that it is the future of television, and whether the stock is over or under-priced depends mostly on whether you believe them. JPMorgan and Wedbush have both increased their price targets on improved revenue guidance and above-consensus results, but they could not disagree more on what those PTs should be: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) increased their target from $340 to $460 while Wedbush pushed theirs from $140 to $160, compared to a stock price of $354.99.
Net subscriptions added and revenues beat consensus, driven by successful original content and Emmy nominations (Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards), as well as licensing for hit shows from other channels especially Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. JPMorgan sees this as Netflix following through on its commitment to stand apart from other streaming services or TV channels. As long as they are able to keep delivering innovative content and providing access to great shows, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) thinks that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is well-positioned to take advantage of people’s growing preference for tablets and smartphones over television.
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“We believe the positive network effects of better content and more subscribers continues to play out, as Netflix disrupts linear TV,” writes JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) analyst Doug Anmuth.
Consensus estimates for Netflix
Simply put, Wedbush doesn’t buy it. Explaining why he is still bearish on the company, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter writes, “We believe the discrepancy was generated by ‘originals’ with useful lives of two years, and expect the difference to reverse over the next two fiscal years, placing a drag on EPS of roughly $1.50 per share each year. We think that consensus estimates for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)’s EPS potential are overstated.”
While people will probably re-watch old episodes of Breaking Bad for years to come, Pachter is probably right that hit shows will only drive subscriptions for a year or two. But if the company can continue to develop hit shows, it will have a steady stream of reasons to sign up and a growing stable of old shows worth watching. The difference in valuation is mostly a matter of trust: whether you should buy depends on whether you think Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) can follow up this year with another round of hits.