Analysts react to Netflix’s strong quarter, with some pointing to a potential bottom for the stock

Netflix ‘s slowdown in subscriber losses may signal a bottom is on the horizon for the beaten-up streaming stock, according to some analysts. Shares of the streaming giant surged more than 7% in the premarket Wednesday after the company reported a smaller-than-expected subscriber loss of 970,000 , below the anticipated 2 million it projected last quarter. At the same time, Netflix posted a beat on earnings and a miss on revenue, noting that it expects to add 1 million subscribers in the third quarter. Netflix shares have been under pressure recently falling more than 60% over the past six months. That includes a 35% one-day drop in April, after the company reported its first subscriber loss in more than a decade . That shocking report led to more questions about Netflix’s long-term growth trajectory and brought with it a wave of analyst downgrades. Now, some analysts believe the company is on a path to recovery following its strong second-quarter results. Some bumps remain as Netflix faces increased competition for content, launches its ad tier and cracks down on password sharing, but the stock’s positive reaction to earnings could signal that a bottom is near, said Wells Fargo’s Steven Cahall in a note to clients published Wednesday. “We think NFLX has found a bottom assuming sub growth doesn’t hit any new cliffs,” he wrote. “Next year new initiatives will start to contribute, and it’s reasonable to expect that the NFLX of 2024 and beyond will have very healthy top-and bottom-line growth + better FCF.” Stifel’s Scott Devitt echoed similar sentiment, noting that Netflix’s subscriber losses are subsiding and investors can now focus on the company’s growth trajectory. “To reinvigorate growth, Netflix will need to solve its affordability issues in emerging markets and increase monetization in relatively mature markets,” Devitt said. “The company has a number of increasingly defined levers to solve these issues, with a proven management team and improving FCF dynamics.” Many analysts see further guidance on Netflix’s advertising tier and updates to its password-sharing initiatives as potential near-term catalysts for the stock going forward, programs that can also boost subscriber growth. How the company executes these initiatives will also prove pivotal against its competition, said Goldman Sachs’ Eric Sheridan. “Netflix continues to boast the strongest engagement metrics of all streaming players and is arguably the most culturally relevant, signaling that the company’s strength of brand and ability to produce quality content shouldn’t fade in the future,” said Deutsche Bank’s Bryan Kraft. To be sure, not all analysts are convinced that Netflix’s pain is over. Despite the company’s decent quarter and guidance, Netflix is “still a long way from restarting the flywheel,” Credit Suisse’s Douglas Mitchelson said. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne said that, “at a high level, Netflix’s ambitions are to accelerate revenue growth while moderating its content investment growth.” “If successful, shares should outperform. However, it remains early in its monetization initiatives and while success is not priced in, neither in our view is failure,” Swinburne added. Needham’s Laura Martin, a widely followed analyst on the Street, recommended investors remain on the sidelines after the report. “Where do its sub losses end, given strong competition from newer, lower-priced, deeper-pocketed, streaming services? 222mm global subs may turn out to be the peak subscribers for NFLX,” she wrote. “In addition to lower prices, most NFLX streaming competitors also have more library hours, more bundling options, and sister subsidiaries to subsidize higher content spending.” “Unless NFLX proves immune to economic theory, it will be the primary source of other streaming services sub growth if only because it is the entrenched incumbent with the most subs,” Martin added. Shares of the streaming giant have plummeted more than 71% from their 52-week highs and are trading down more than 66% this year. — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting

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