Netflix started the decade with a subscription mail DVD service with 12 million subscribers paying $9 a month for the privilege. It ended the decade as the best performing stock of the whole period, with a more than 4,000 percent return, according to CNBC.
If someone had invested $1 million in Netflix on Jan. 1 2010, it would be worth almost $43 million today. That’s a return of 4,181 percent, and it beats all other members of the S&P 500. The index as a whole is up 189 percent over the past decade.
Netflix has a market cap of almost $148 billion.
Although the company makes a lot of money, it doesn’t seem to work like a regular operation in that it runs on a paper thin operating margin, and its cash flow is negative.
Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities said the company’s valuation is “unwarranted,” the way the company burns through cash is dangerous, and there will be “content migration to competing services” to reconcile as well.
Netflix board member and early investor Jay Hoag said the circumstances around the company were very beneficial in Netflix’s success, including deciding to move into streaming content while technology was ready to handle it.
Pachter said Netflix will eventually see a huge decline, and eventually his prediction will be right. He said Netflix is a “mythical stock,” and the company’s spending habits will catch up with it.
The streaming market is an increasingly competitive space. Offering a combination of original content and viewer favorites is just one way services are attempting to create competitive differentiation.
The latest Subscription Commerce Conversion Index goes a step farther, exploring how consumers use streaming services and what keeps them from canceling subscriptions. According to the index, 83.3 percent of consumers subscribe to at least one form of subscription service.