Netflix (NFLX) is looking to expand its reach to even more living rooms by partnering with cable companies, leaving the 5 million or so U.S. cord-cutters who rely on streaming video services from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon (AMZN) scratching their heads. But investors in NFLX stock should be happy about this move.
Netflix CFO David Wells explained his thinking at this week’s Goldman Sachs (GS) Communacopia Conference in New York:
“We would love to reduce the friction to the end consumer, and to be available via the existing device in the home, which is the set-top box.”
More ways of accessing Netflix means a wider reach for Netflix’s streaming service, currently at 22 million paid subscribers. The message for NFLX stock owners, then, is that if you can’t beat ‘em… join ‘em.
Netflix is already available as an app on many devices you can connect to your TV, like Apple (AAPL) gadget Apple TV, Tivo (TIVO) and Roku boxes, but it does not yet have ties to U.S. cable companies.
Netflix has already started down this path with two European cable company deals -Virgin Media in Britain and Com Hem AB in Sweden. In these markets, customers can access the Netflix app alongside traditional TV guides that are part of their cable subscription.
Wells has had an “open offer” for U.S. cable companies to do the same for the past two years. One possible reason for their hesitation is that Netflix streaming video could discourage customers from on-demand video purchases.
Only time will tell if cable companies bite, but in the meantime, NFLX stock isn’t hurting.
NFLX stock up a whopping 235% this year alone, and initiatives like this one have kept growth chugging along, with EPS expected to double in 2014. However, analyst consensus projects 27% downside for NFLX stock, and some believe Netflix sky-high prices could plummet like they did in 2011.
As of this writing, Carla Lake did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.