Nearly a decade ago, TheStreet’s founder Jim Cramer coined the acronym FANG, later updated to FAANG, for companies supremely dominant in their respective markets and their stocks’ resulting proclivity for outperformance.
For the nascent streaming industry, Netflix’s (NFLX) position was among the most secure in the shorthand slang for tech titans Facebook (FB) in social media, Apple (AAPL) in consumer devices, Amazon (AMZN) in e-commerce and Alphabet (GOOGL) in search.
However, as more and more players enter the streaming space, perhaps Netflix's dominance and therefore its place in Cramer’s coinage might be more tenuous.
Indeed, while the Los Gatos, California-based company still leads the pack in terms of subscriber share, the lead is shrinking. Per a recent report from Ampere Analysis, Netflix’s market share was cut by nearly one-third, from 29% to 20% of the total market, as competitors like Disney (DIS) have challenged for the streaming crown and seriously damaged the company’s growth story.
“I think it’s been disconnected from the [rest of the FAANG] group for a while now given its business is extremely different from other members,” Joel Kulina, SVP of Equity Trading at Wedbush Securities said. “It's still a good proxy for large cap growth sentiment but that’s about it.”
Microsoft Moving In?
Given the shortcoming of Netflix in terms of fitting in with the rest of FAANG, debate has been kickstarted over a potential replacement.
While FAANG was built upon dominance in a particular industry by Cramer, each of the companies that encompass the acronym, save Netflix, have become diversified companies with benefits from multiple industries and strong network effects.
Apple’s pivot to services has been well-publicized and undergirded its long-term bull thesis; Alphabet has expanded very successfully into video through its acquisition of Youtube and rapidly grown its cloud business while it continues to make many bets in fields as disparate as video games and autonomous vehicles; Facebook has acquired to assert dominance in social media; and Amazon’s cloud dominance has overshadowed its retail beginnings to bolster all of its businesses.
Through these platforms that branch across numerous industries, each company has been able to benefit from mutualistic business models that cement their status as a dominant tech player. The same cannot be said for Netflix. In order to correct for this glaring dissimilarity, Microsoft (MSFT) might be a perfect replacement.
While the Redmond, Washington-based company has long held a stranglehold on operating systems as its core business, its forays into gaming, advertising and especially cloud computing have taken the company to new heights. In fact, about one-third of the company’s overall revenue is now derived from its cloud business, building upon its longstanding dominance in software.
Indeed, as CEO Satya Nadella teases a major update to Windows operating systems at the company’s Build 2021 event in late May while signaling an intention to dive deeper than ever into cutting edge technology in cloud, the dominant and well-diversified company is clearly more similar to Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google than Netflix’s decidedly concentrated business. Like those other companies, Microsoft is dominant in one area of the business while still growing rapidly in others.
Further, while Cramer did not envision the group as a valuation-based grouping, the staggering gap between Netflix and the rest of its FAANG peers is becoming only more notable. While Netflix sports a still healthy market cap of just over $200 billion, it pales in comparison to the market cap’s of the rest of the grouping, which range from just under $1 trillion in Facebook's case to in excess of $2 trillion for Apple.
In terms of market-moving ability, this leaves Netflix as somewhat of a laggard and therefore less useful for the grouping’s service as a market indicator.
Addition, Not Subtraction
Still, part of the ubiquity of the FAANG name is not entirely based upon its application to markets. A great degree of credit belongs to the catchiness of the name itself, meaning FAAMG or FAMGA might leave a great deal to be desired in terms of catching on.
As a result, Wedbush’s Kulina argues that Netflix need not be removed. Instead, he argues for the addition of both Microsoft and his chosen semiconductor stalwart Nvidia (NVDA) to result in the catchy FANGMAN.
“Many have tried to include Microsoft in with others but it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily,” he commented. “FANGMAN has been one of the better ones I’ve come across, easy to say; includes large cap growth names across various pockets of tech.”
Certainly Nvidia would also fit in well as its dominance in graphics chips has helped the firm assert a dominant market share in graphics cards, clocking in at a whopping 82% market share per Jon Peddie Research.
In terms of diversifying, CEO Jensen Huang’s acquisition strategy has helped the firm branch into the automotive industry through high-profile partnerships through its NVIDIA drive network as well as data centers, aided by the acquisition of Mellanox, as well as AI technology through its anticipated takeover of Arm.
While the semiconductor industry is certainly crowded, Nvidia has managed to set itself apart beyond its firm base in gaming and graphic chip dominance. As such, it might also be a perfect candidate for mention alongside the long-time tech leaders. Also, its market cap is a healthy $400+ billion, adding to its potential to fit with the rest of the group.
As such, Netflix may not need to be removed from FAANG as it still clings to a lead in streaming amidst the wave of entrants to the industry, but it may need to at least move into a slightly more crowded market mnemonic.
Facebook, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Microsoft and Disney are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.