Netflix is dealing with a big unsubscribe problem, but one analyst has a different view
Netflix disrupted TV with a streaming service that offered zero ads and practically invented binging with full-season releases.
But desperate times call for desperate measures — even if that means going against your core beliefs and backtracking those decisions.
Netflix has a big unsubscribe problem…
By the end of April, 23% of new Netflix subscribers started and quit the service in the same month — the highest of other major streamers, per research firm Antenna.
But if someone stays subscribed to Netflix past a few months, there’s a greater chance of them staying subscribed.
- Netflix has the lowest long-term unsubscribe rate among competitors.
- So Netflix needs to hook users by keeping them subscribed for the first few months.
Their solution: Space out show releases. You may have noticed Netflix splitting seasons into multiple parts (i.e., Money Heist, Ozarks, Stranger Things) — while other platforms often release episodes weekly.
What do analysts think about ads on Netflix?
For investors, Netflix’s plans to launch an ad-supported tier have been a popular topic.
Positive: Incentivize those sharing accounts to use their own — and give more people access to Netflix who would have never paid.
Negative: Cannibalize paying customers — who downgrade to their lower revenue-generating ad product.
Analysts gave a couple of warnings (NYT) to investors:
- Wells Fargo analysts predicted that a third of subscribers would convert to the ad-supported tier by 2025.
- Bank of America thinks the ad tier would lead to paying customers downgrading and subscribing to more streaming services — benefiting competitors.
In the face of slowing growth, recession concerns and increasing competition, Netflix has fallen 70% in 2022.
The reversal caught many off-guard, including well-known investor Bill Ackman. He bought Netflix’s dip in January — but sold after an earnings report took $NFLX down 35% in a single day.
Investors: This analyst thinks differently…
Beth Kindig at tech-focused I/O Fund thinks the market has misread Netflix:
- There’s a clear path to increase sales and earnings.
- The ad tier would monetize 50% more subscribers (100 million) currently sharing passwords.
- Netflix’s valuation hasn’t been this cheap in over a decade.
What about all those rumors of Netflix acquiring Roku? Don’t count on it. Kindig thinks this would heavily increase Netflix’s debt load and dilute existing shareholders, and it’s a move Netflix can’t afford.
Her firm’s take: Don’t start a position until closer to the launch of its ad tier.