Wall St. bullish, consumers cautious

In 2008, DVD rental company Netflix sold for less than $20 a share. This year, it peaked above $300.

But content owners are seeking more cash for streaming their movies and TV shows. Just last week, Netflix inked a deal reportedly paying DreamWorks Animation $30 million per film. And Netflix alienated customers by announcing a significant price increase in July.

On July 11, the day before the price hike news, Netflix stock closed at $290.74. On Sept. 20, the day after CEO Reed Hastings sent his mea culpa letter to subscribers to announce the split between streaming (Netflix) and DVD rental (Qwikster), the stock ended at $130.03.

According to data from Thomson-Reuters I/B/E/S, the mean Netflix 2011 earnings estimate on Wall Street rose from $4.47 to $4.51 over the same time period.

Are the analysts right, or is the market? We’ll get an inkling later this month when Netflix releases September-quarter earnings.

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