I made the call in last week's article,
. Since first telling investors to prepare to buy NFLX, the stock has soared 194%; it's up 74% since I first predicted $300.
My Netflix take just illustrates this market's senselessness.
I know it sounds crazy. I write about how much I love the Netflix service. How much better it is now than in 2011. I called the move
$100. Called the move
$100. And now I am forecasting a retest of the stock's all-time highs. Meanwhile,
crashes with dim light at the end of the pipeline.
It's nonsense, no question about it. I'm with you. As I've said before, valuation means nothing in this market, nor should it.
Just as I have no problem with
3,400 P/E ratio, I cast no pebbles at NFLX's lofty 585.
As I explained prior to Apple's earnings
, P/E no longer works as a valuation metric. Better to use it to gauge investor confidence.
This new and more relevant way of using the P/E ratio doesn't exonerate investors from doing hard work and struggling with the seemingly irrational -- NFLX up, AAPL down, Amazon's P/E, among other examples.
AMZN gets the benefit of the doubt because Jeff Bezos has executed strategically for more than a decade. AAPL no longer receives the same pass because, simply put, Steve Jobs is dead. Investors have higher levels of confidence in Bezos's ability to follow through than they do Tim Cook's. I don't completely agree with that, though I do see where it's coming from. What matters is that the collective mindset is out there.
We had pretty much the same scenario with NFLX in 2011 as we have now. Everybody loves it.
The business appears to be humming.
; Netflix is everywhere. You buy a television set, it's there. Buy a streaming player, it's there. Heck, Netflix often has its own button on the accompanying remote control.
No media company has done a better job making itself ubiquitous. Not
Netflix achieved this level of saturation -- and continues to scale onto consumer electronic devices and such -- because people love the service. If you make hardware, there's real value in making sure Netflix receives primary placement on your television or streaming device. Consumers want and expect to see it.
I like the service so much
But Netflix's business model faces a predicament yet to be solved. Sooner or later,
. He cannot keep taking on debt amid plummeting free cash flow forever. Theoretically, he could, but, even in this irrational market, it's not a sustainable practice.
The "virtuous cycle" -- more subscribers equals more money for content equals more subscribers and even more money for even more content -- sounds great when Hastings smoke-and-mirrors it on conference calls.
. And, like I did in 2011 months before NFLX crashed, I will repeat my response to this nonsense until I'm blue in the face.
It's a vicious cycle.
Not all content owners are happy with the idea of giving away their premium content to millions of subscribers for eight bucks a month. Don't expect too many more big media outlets to
. As Netflix attracts more subscribers, it will have to attract more and better content to keep up the pace. To do this, it will have to charge more. Simple as that. I was right in 2011. I am right now.
The only difference? In 2011, I let emotion take over as NFLX ran to $300. I would not give in and say, yeah, get long because this thing's going higher. I'm smarter after having been through that rodeo.
This irrational market will help NFLX continue to soar. Most likely after a slightly bigger breather than it took around $100. But don't let Hastings or Wall Street's renewed enthusiasm for his stock fool you. The problems that led to 2011's implosion have not gone away.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is
Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to
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