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Media Darling Netflix to Crush $300 ... Again

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This is all so reminiscent of 2011, it's freaking scary. Even amidst Syria-related market uncertainty, it appears Netflix (NFLX) will pop $300. Again.

It's not even flirting with $300. It's about to have its way with it.

What's different about 2013? Not much.

Personally, I have called the stock a buy since around $300. In 2011, I was irrationally short. You simply cannot get in front of one of these magic carpet ride stocks.

I was going to say my timing is slightly off this year, but no, NFLX still has a chance of hitting $300 before summer officially ends. And it likely will. There's a decent chance it could prior to the unofficial end of summer.

In 2011, people weren't calling Netflix "an original programming powerhouse" or "the next HBO." Now, minus anything verifiable, practically all of the media are relaying these statements as fact.

Other than that, there's not a whole lot that's different about the 2011 and 2013 iterations of Netflix.

This is only true, of course, if you ignore the fact that, as of Q4 2010, Netflix reported just over $1 billion of off-balance-sheet obligations. But, now, as of the most recent quarter, that number has increased exponentially to $6.4 billion. That's a rise of 550%. Revenue hasn't even come close to keeping the same pace.

I'll do the math here in Netflix's favor.

First, I won't count any of its current debt and other liabilities. I won't mention that, as Netflix notes in official SEC filings, additional off-balance-sheet debt is "expected to be significant and the expected timing of payments could range from less than one year to more than five years." I'll leave out a discussion of free cash flow as well as how many times Netflix has raised cash over the last several years and the prospects that it will have to do it again. We won't talk about diluted shares or insider selling either.

We'll just compare the 550% increase in Netflix's off-balance-sheet obligations to the increase in revenue (we won't even discuss profits because, for a growth company, fluctuations there really don't matter much to me) over -- to give them the advantage -- a longer period of time.

At the end of June 2010, Netflix reported quarterly revenue of $519.8 million. That figured jumped 52% to $788.6 million by the end of June 2011. Netflix revenue rose another 12.8% to $889.2 million by the end of June 2012. (I'm rounding everything up by the way). And then came the end of June 2013. Netflix's much-hyped billion-dollar quarter with revenue up 20.3% year-over-year to nearly $1.1 billion. Between June 2010 and June 2013, Netflix's revenue increased roughly 106%.

This is all public information readily available in the company's quarterly SEC documents.

You should read them. They're fascinating. Even for me, a guy who really doesn't like to use numbers to assess these types of situations. However, in this case, they simply do not lie. But, as I have been writing for more than two years now, the qualitative story doesn't erase the pending tragedy of the quantitative one.

Off-balance-sheet obligations increased 550% over roughly two and half years. Revenue is up 106% over exactly three years.

Barring a bailout from a desperate company such as Microsoft (MSFT), this thing is primed to implode as bad as, if not worse than it did in 2011.

Flame me in the comments and on Twitter if I end up wrong. I'll get ripped now, before the story even plays itself out. If I'm right, say something nice and remember how we saw the same build up to $300 in 2011 as we are seeing in 2013. There's no better teacher than history.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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