Shares of video streaming platform Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) were sinking about 3.8% to $171.53 in pre-market trading on Wednesday as the Walt Disney Company (DIS - Get Report) announced that it would remove its content from Netflix starting in 2019 and start its own rival streaming service.
Morningstar analyst Neil Macker said that the move has the potential to bring a "world of hurt" to Netflix. He said it's unclear how the streaming giant will replace the loss, suggesting it may have to pay more for premium content to attract and retain customers, as well as re-examine its strategy for acquiring customers. The company has said it plans to spend about $6 billion on content this year.
Netflix has long been compared to Time Warner's (TWX) premium content channel HBO, with Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos famously saying once that "the goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us."
AT&T (T - Get Report) has plans to acquire HBO's parent company, which also owns many other properties, for roughly $85 billion, leading Macker to question whether Netflix deserves it current market cap of around $77 billion.
Shares of Netflix have gained over 40% year-to-date, but Macker noted that Netflix shares have surged over 55% since the start of 2016, when the company's deal with Disney went into effect.
Netflix first agreed to a streaming deal with Disney in 2012, but it didn't go into effect until 2016. With the deal, Netflix gained exclusive U.S. rights to Disney's movies, including not only those under the Disney brand, but also its Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar subsidiaries.
Macker currently has a "Sell" rating on Netflix with a $73 price target.
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