Netflix‘s (NASDAQ:NFLX) summer (and fall) to forget continues. After the split of its streaming video service and its DVD-by-mail and a price increase, a poorly worded apology from CEO Reed Hastings, a rebranding of the DVD-by-mail service to “Qwikster,” and a repealing of the rebranding, Netflix could’ve used some good news.
It did get a little. The company reported earnings of $1.16 per share for the third quarter, which beat Wall Street’s EPS expectations of 94 cents. Unfortunately, investors were more concerned about Hastings’ warning after the bell Monday about the continued bleeding of its DVD-by-mail service, which prompted a massive after-hours selloff of Netflix stock.
While Netflix still had 23.8 million subscribers as of the end of September, that number is about 800,000 less than it started with at the beginning of June. Worse yet, Netflix expects fourth-quarter streaming video subscriptions, currently at 21.45 million, to stay about flat at 21.5 or possibly drop as low as 20 million.
Shortly put: Netflix is sinking, and it’s not just investors headed for the lifeboats. Netflix has given customers numerous reasons to jump ship, and with a number of competitors vying for the company’s leadership position in home video, those customers have plenty of places to land. Here are the other home video companies — streaming and DVD alike — waiting to grab Netflix defectors faster than you can say “Qwikster.”
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a triple threat. It’s got a growing streaming video service through Amazon Prime, which at $79 per year equates to less than a full year of Netflix’s streaming only service. It’s one of the leading DVD and Blu-ray retailers in the U.S., so even if it isn’t renting physical discs, it’s keeping that industry kicking. Physical disc sales in turn keep Hollywood studios that still are skittish about streaming businesses happy and working with Amazon. Finally, Amazon is delivering its own tablet PC, the Kindle Fire, that is built around delivering streaming video through Amazon Prime. The only thing holding Amazon back is the accessibility of Amazon Prime streaming. Unlike Netflix streaming, which is on almost every device under the sun, Amazon is restricted to web browsers.