Netflix (NFLX) disrupted Blockbuster right into Chapter 11 protection, and continues to make waves as it moves to tighten its grip on the streaming video marketplace.
Earlier this year, for instance, Netflix topped HBO in total subscribers after a number of big-time content partnerships with companies like Disney (DIS) and Dreamworks (DWA), along with ambitious original programming like the hit drama House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey.
The company is moving into international markets, too, and has aims of hitting 50 million subscribers worldwide by 2020. That’s a massive number, but if anyone can do it Netflix can.
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, of course, and competitors including Hulu Plus and Prime from Amazon.com (AMZN) are looking to get in on the streaming action. It remains unclear how NFLX will fare against these rivals, but its first-mover status and brand appeal seems to be giving it a significant edge for the time being.
Either way, cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) continue to lose thousands of subscribers each month … so even if Netflix doesn’t stay on top forever, the old model of cable television has been forever disrupted by this booming Internet stock.
Despite a big drop in late 2011, Netflix has come roaring back to deliver 750% returns in five years and an impressive 150% gain since Jan. 1 thanks to a short squeeze after proving the naysayers wrong.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here.