Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft upgraded the stock on Tuesday morning to a buy from hold, and raised his price target to $400 a share from $360. The stock was moving 1.74% higher to $354.95 a share in pre-market trading Tuesday.
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Because of its size and popularity, Kraft says Netflix is moving beyond being just an app and towards "platform status," which bring network effects that Netflix competitors can't access, Kraft said. In addition to reinforcing its brand, that status serving as strong branding for the streaming giant, is making Netflix "even more of a go-to destination when consumers want to watch something, and it means having Netflix is becoming more of a cultural necessity for people around the world."
In addition, Kraft believes talent will flock to the platform, an important advantage as giants Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report , Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report , Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report YouTube, Disney (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report and others vie for top talent for original content. Those advantages mean that "consumers stay captive within the Netflix walled garden for significant amounts of time," Kraft wrote.
Disney's competitive pricing on its new Disney+ platform -- it's charging $6.99 a month for its standard package -- is expected to help it grow quickly, although some analysts think it won't put a dent in demand for Netflix.
Wall Street is looking for Netflix's adjusted earnings per share for the quarter to come in at 69 cents on $4.5 billion of revenue, with international subscriber additions of 6.5 million. Kraft thinks earnings guidance is "conservative," which Netflix is known for doing. Netflix has beaten earnings estimates for the first quarter of the year for five of the past eight years.
Analysts expect Netflix to add 24.4 million international subscribers in 2019 and 24.8 million in 2020, but Kraft sees those results coming in at 27.4 million and 27.5 million, respectively.
The stock is up 30% so far this year, roughly twice the gain of the S&P 500 over the same time period.