(Tech stock columnist Jon D. Markman publishes Strategic Advantage, a lively, lucrative guide to investing in the digital transformation of business and society. Click here for a free trial.)
The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company missed the $3.16 per share earnings forecast by 17 cents. Paid subscriber growth bested lowered forecasts yet managers were not especially upbeat about paid member adds in Q3.
Don’t worry. Netflix is changing its business again. Investors should buy.
Netflix is an iconic business because of its nimbleness. Only 15 years ago the company was primarily a mail order DVD rental business. Customers received fragile plastic discs in the mail that they then inserted into relatively expensive black metal boxes hooked up with wires to the back of their televisions. In the era of Blockbuster Video that business model was considered revolutionary.
Blockbuster, DVDs and players have all been relegated to the scrap bin of history. It’s mostly because Reed Hastings, Netflix’s founder and chief executive went all-in on digital streaming media.
Going into gaming is potentially even more significant. It positions the company to better monetize its customers’ free time. Gaming is sticky. Done right, it keeps players connected in ways watching content passively can’t match.
Hastings joked in 2019 that Fortnite, the wildly popular online multiplayer game, was a bigger threat to Netflix than HBO and Game of Thrones.
Netflix has been a great stock through the years. Morningstar lists the 15-year compound growth rate at 40.22%. A $10,000 investment made back then is worth $1,592,752 today.
This is an inflection point. Longer-term investors should buy any weakness.