Blind Faith in Netflix, or in Anything, Will Get You Killed
A tad melodramatic, no doubt, but equally as powerful and relevant as long as you keep some perspective.
That bit of wisdom from The Boss could have been the headline for my critically-acclaimed, if it were a TV show it would've won an Emmy even though the ratings sucked Tuesday article: Netflix Singlehandedly Sucking the Life Out of Journalism .
Because it really does apply, particularly if you're an investor, but also if you're one of the millions of people who follow and/or subscribe to Netflix
I can only chalk up what we see with Netflix, day-after-day on Wall Street and in the media, to blind faith. Many of the same people who kept faith in NFLX during the summer of 2011, as the stock magic carpet rode to $304, are singing the same song two years later. I'm simply here to tell you to be careful if you own the stock. Proceed with caution.
On the bright side, it has had such an amazing run that, for many shareholders, even an all-out implosion wouldn't hurt that much. Sure, you would see profits trimmed, but you wouldn't necessarily blow up your account. That, however, comes from the same strand of thought that kept people not only in Apple
Don't let the dual psychological forces of pledging loyalty to a battleground stock and having blind faith in Netflix's leader get you killed.
If you review some of Reed Hastings and other Netflix executives' comments from this week's conference call (you can see a few in the above-linked article), you discover that Hastings has this way of concurrently telling everybody only what he thinks they need to know and putting them at ease.
That's what he does when he says Listen, I'm the CEO and I don't look at churn (I call bull on that, by the way), so there's no reason for anybody else to look at it . Or when he blows off lower-than-expected net subscriber additions to seasonality or says hey, we came in at the midpoint of our internal expectations so it's all good and everybody eats it up.
Nobody pushes the obvious hard enough: If there is all of this interest in Netflix original programming -- these things we're calling "hit shows" -- then why this mild disappointment on sub numbers? Are so many existing subscribers watching it that new ones do not matter? Are the people who churned out being replaced by others who are signing up exclusively to see the originals?