In this segment of the Motley Fool Money podcast, host Chris Hill is joined by Million Dollar Portfolio's Jason Moser, Hidden Gems Canada's David Kretzmann, and Total Income's Ron Gross to reflect on last week's business and economic news.
One company that everyone has their eyes on in more ways than one is Netflix (NFLX 9.29%), which continued to build its customer base faster than analysts expected it could last quarter. It also increased revenue by more than 40% -- so, yes, unlike most companies. Its growth is accelerating as it gets larger. The guys weigh in, and consider the case for investing in it now.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on April 20, 2018.
Chris Hill: Netflix added nearly 7.5 million subscribers worldwide. That is just one of the highlights from the first quarter report that Netflix issued earlier in the week, and shares up about 6%, David.
David Kretzmann: Yeah. Pretty darn rootin'-tootin' as far as the quarter goes. And remember, Netflix just raised prices at the end of last year, and the company grew revenue over 40%. That's the fastest revenue has grown since the fourth quarter of 2011. So, the company is actually accelerating its growth as it gets larger, which is an incredible feat.
Hill: I ... I don't know. I mean ... I just ...
Jason Moser: [laughs] You're almost speechless.
Hill: I'm almost speechless because Netflix continues to do this quarter after quarter, to the point where the only thing I find surprising about Netflix's results is the fact that management, for some reason, continues to feel the need to say, "Hey, we were surprised by this!" It's like, really? You were surprised by your own growth?
Moser: I feel like the Qwikster debacle gave Reed Hastings a lot, and I think a little dose of humility is one of the things he took away from it. And it's made him, I think, a better CEO, and honestly just more pleasant to listen to. So, when you hear him say, "Hey, we were surprised, too," I think there's a little dose of humility there. But it's the standard, right? Internet TV, that's Netflix, and everybody really is still chasing after them.
Kretzmann: The biggest question mark with Netflix, I think, clearly remains how much they're spending on content, and increasingly they're spending more on marketing. They're spending about $8 billion on content this year. They're expecting to burn $3-4 billion of free cash flow this year alone. They have $4 billion in net debt. They said they're going to tap the debt market again. So, the ultimate question here is, at what point do those skyrocketing content costs plateau? Is it $12 billion? Is it $15 billion? Is it $50 billion? We don't really know, and I don't know if management honestly knows at this point, either.
Ron Gross: And that's kept idiots like me, or maybe I should say value investors like me, out of the stock for years to come. Is it time for me to say uncle and say I was wrong? Clearly, the stock is telling me I was completely wrong. But, I don't think the final chapter has been written yet.
Moser: Netflix has been a scary one to get behind, though, because of those metrics David was just talking about. But it makes you wonder. Amazon, really, I think, is similar in that regard. People have always griped about those profits, or lack thereof. I feel like you have to have a price-to-member metric or a price-to-subscriber.
Hill: And to go back to something David mentioned about Netflix recently raising prices, that's one other ripple effect of Amazon sharing this 100 million Prime number. Now, people can look at that and say, "Okay, what happens when they decide to bump up the price of Prime $10, $20?" Which, absolutely everyone who's a Prime member will pay.
Moser: Yeah, they will. They will pay it, Chris. I demand it.
Hill: [laughs] You're just standing up with your wallet out saying, "Take my money!"
Moser: Listen, I've said on more than one occasion that they could quadruple the price of Prime and I'd pay happily --
Gross: Hey, hey, that's you!
Moser: That bears it out, OK?
Hill: Speak for yourself there, buster!