Netflix stock continued its steady ride upward on Friday following another price target increase. The streaming giant has certainly had its share of target increases since its last earnings report and huge subscriber add surprise. But will it continue to soar? Analysts aren’t ready to say no just yet.
Netflix stock target to $175
In a research note dated Jan. 27, MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson bumped up his price target for Netflix stock by $10 to $175 per share. While he hasn’t changed his view of the domestic opportunity for the company, he does feel that the opportunity in international markets is bigger than he had thought before. Now he’s looking for higher subscriber numbers and positive contributions from overseas markets.
The analyst doesn’t believe that Netflix stock is fully valued yet. In fact, he sees more than $12 per share in earnings power potential by 2021 and believes that the streaming company will remain in “rapid growth mode for subscribers.” He also expects Netflix stock to trade at $270 per share by 2020, marking a multiple of 20 to 25 times forward earnings per share.
Netflix’s content travels
One of the factors in Sanderson’s view is that the content Netflix has been buying seems to travel outside the U.S. He notes that the company is no longer sending Hollywood-produced content overseas but rather regional content. The company’s original shows are proving to be big draws for subscribers, especially as the company expands into new regions.
He’s now expecting Netflix’s international subscribers to rise to 115 million over the next five years. This would mark a 22% penetration rate for broadband homes, including 28% of broadband homes in developed economies and 14% in developing markets. Previous international markets reached that level around five years after Netflix launched in them, he said.
He pegs Wave-1 developed economies’ aggregate penetration for Netflix at about 30% of broadband homes and Latin America’s penetration at greater than 14%.
Is Netflix stock a cult or growth stock?
With analysts from most firms so massively bullish on Netflix stock, it’s no wonder investors have been carrying it onward and upward. CNBC’s Jim Cramer called the stock a cult stock in 2015, but is that the case anymore? In a post for The Motley Fool earlier this week, Leo Sun argued against that label’s accuracy, saying that he now believes Netflix stock to be a growth stock.
He says that while the stock does look rather expensive compared to the company’s trailing 12-month earnings, its bottom line growth is stabilizing and suggests that it’s not all that expensive relative to the company’s future earnings growth potential. And this is the basis of most analysts’ arguments. The rapid growth of Netflix’s subscriber base suggests that it does have a bright future and may indeed still be in growth mode.
Will the content monster eat Netflix out of house and home?
Bears are convinced that the company has no future and is burning cash too rapidly on content that won’t keep subscribers paying their monthly fees. The company’s history of producing content that travels bodes well for its future, but at some point, it will have to stop burning so much cash, or investors will get tired of waiting. Just look at Amazon, which had to take a breather from all the cash burn to get investors back on board. At the end of the day, Netflix’s future probably hangs less on its ability to produce content that travels well and more on producing content that will stick around.
Are series like The Crown and Orange is the New Black shows that people will still be paying to watch in ten years, or will they have passed their expiration dates, requiring the company to keep feeding the monster more than it can afford to?
Netflix stock rose by as much as 2.04% to $141.79 during regular trading hours on Friday.