By Trefis.comNetflix ( NFLX), a movie rental company, makes film and TV programming for customers on a monthly subscription basis via mailed DVDs and online streaming. A leading factor in Netflix's success has been its low prices. In the past, the average Netflix subscription fee has trended downwards due to rising free trial subscriptions, which Netflix uses to drive subscriber growth. Also, the company has experienced great demand for its low-priced $8.99 plan, which includes unlimited DVD rentals (one at a time) and unlimited streaming service. Although we expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future, we explore below factors that could drive Netflix's subscription fee upward. Rising fees would create a 15% upside to our $82.26 price estimate for Netflix's stock . (One caveat: In a recent article , we noted that rising subscription rates could also hurt Netflix's competitive position vis-a-vis Comcast ( CMCSA) and other cable providers, which could put downward pressure on the stock.) Rising Demand for Online Content With increased broadband penetration and improved speeds, demand for online video is on the rise. Broadband is increasingly becoming a one-stop destination for entertainment. According to an online poll commissioned by RealNetworks , 46% of 18 to 25-year-olds surveyed said that they spend the same amount of time viewing online videos as they do watching traditional TV. About 32% indicated that the computer is now their preferred platform for consuming on-demand video. Netflix can potentially take advantage of this demand shift to raise its subscription prices. Netflix's prices have room to rise because they are substantially cheaper than rates charged by on-demand competitors like Comcast. However, Netflix will need richer online programming to justify such increases.
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