Netflix shares skidded today after investors greedily gobbled up the company’s shares on Wednesday following the news that its global expansion is coming earlier than previously expected. Today analysts are weighing in on the news, and some have even bumped up their price target because of it.
Netflix launches in 130 new countries
UBS analyst Doug Mitchelson bumped up his price target for Netflix slightly from $143 to $147 per share and maintained his Buy rating following the news. The video streaming service provider said at the Consumer Electronics Show this week that it has launched in an additional 130 countries, bring its total markets up to 190 and covering most of the world except for China.
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Investors shouldn’t worry too much about the lack of a China launch, however, as management anticipates adding the massive Asian nation sometime later this year. Further, bringing services online in 130 more countries raises Netflix’s addressable international coverage by 50% in just a single day, notes Mitchelson, bringing the metric from 308 million households with broadband up to 460 million.
Additionally, he says the international rollout is now well ahead of schedule, as he had expected it to be spread out through this year and next. As a result, he’s upping his international net adds estimate from 12 million to 14 million for this year.
A huge milestone for online media
Netflix also announced some positive key metrics on Wednesday. For example, the company racked up record global viewership last year at more than 42.5 billion hours and a 46% year over year increase. In the fourth quarter, viewers watched about 12.5 billion hours, a year over year increase from 8.25 billion.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Nat Schindler highlighted that this week’s announcements from Netflix mark an important milestone for the online media industry as a whole. The massive increase in total addressable market makes Netflix the first global media platform in the world. Company management said a lot of the new countries will launch with their original content, but Schindler expects the company will expand its offerings gradually to include licensed content.
The video streaming service intends to produce 600 hours of original content this year, which is twice as much that was produced last year. All of the original content is licensed globally, which provides Netflix with economies of scale in content distribution, pointed out Schindler.
One thing that goes along with increases in total addressable market is an increase in marketing expenses. The BAML analyst expects international contribution margins will remain in the red throughout fiscal 2016 due to higher marketing expenses, but management apparently still expects the international business to turn profitable next year. Schindler expects the company to focus more on bigger countries like Russia and India and believes that word of mouth may provide a source of natural marketing. He has a Buy rating and price objective of $137 per share on Netflix.
Not everyone is bullish on Netflix
Jefferies analyst Brian Fitzgerald and his team continue to rate Netflix as a Hold with a $105 per share price target. For example, they noted that the video streaming company is going to have to create quite a lot of local and focused content to win over a significant chunk of some of the world’s markets, particularly India, which has a keen taste for Bollywood films.
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos highlighted during the CES speech that they’re able to take more risks that traditional TV networks can’t. The reason is because unusual shows that target smaller niche audiences can more easily find audiences on a service like Netflix. As a result, the video streaming service is able to win even with shows that have smaller measures of success, although traditional TV needs every show to be a huge hit.
Netflix shares slumped by as much as 2.9% to $114.26 per share during regular trading hours today.