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Piper Jaffray's Still Confident in Netflix

By Evan Niu, CFA - Oct 4, 2019 at 7:00AM

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Most Netflix subscribers aren't interested in the rival services that investors are worried about.

We're now less than a month away from Apple (AAPL 1.00%) launching Apple TV+ on Nov. 1, which will be followed by Disney's (DIS 3.61%) competing Disney+ video-streaming service that debuts on Nov. 12. Netflix (NFLX 5.71%) investors have been anxious about those forthcoming services all year, with the stock having recently given up all of its year-to-date gains ahead of the looming competition.

CEO Reed Hastings acknowledged last month that it would be "a whole new world starting in November." Hastings added, "It'll be tough competition." However, at least one Wall Street analyst isn't too concerned.

Netflix interface

Image source: Netflix.

Survey says

Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson put out a research note this week expressing confidence in Netflix's ability to weather the competitive storm, based in part on a survey of Netflix subscribers that suggests the company should be able to retain the majority of its U.S. subscribers. The video-streaming leader had rattled investors over the summer when it reported its first U.S. subscriber loss in nearly a decade.

"Our survey suggests that the majority (~75%) of Netflix subscribers do not intend to subscribe to either Disney+ or Apple TV+," Olson wrote in a note to investors. "For those that do expect to use one of these offerings, the vast majority expect to also maintain their Netflix subscription."

Disney executive onstage in front of Disney+ logo

Image source: Disney.

There were approximately 1,500 respondents included in the survey, with most existing subscribers expressing little interest in the rival services: 77% of respondents weren't interested in Apple TV+ and 72% felt the same way about Disney+. Video-streaming services aren't entirely mutually exclusive, and many subscribers will sign up for numerous services.

If anything, consumers are more likely to cut their cable budgets to make room for more over-the-top (OTT) services. "Most existing Netflix subscribers appear to be trending toward multiple streaming video subscriptions, especially as many continue to reduce their spend on traditional TV offerings," the analyst said.

Besides, most Apple TV+ viewers probably won't have to pay anything for a while, as the Cupertino tech giant is giving away a free year of service bundled with hardware purchases. With the holiday shopping season on the horizon, Apple will be giving away tens of millions of subscriptions over the next few months. At just $7 per month for Disney+, the House of Mouse is also taking an aggressive pricing strategy in order to make the service's value proposition hard to resist.

Olson also noted that Netflix shares have hit "multi-year valuation lows," suggesting that investors are already pricing in the competitive risks that the company is about to face. Piper Jaffray reiterated an overweight rating and $440 price target.

Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple, Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple, Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, short October 2019 $125 calls on Walt Disney, short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple, and long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$239.74 (5.71%) $12.96
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$167.00 (1.00%) $1.65
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$110.48 (3.61%) $3.85

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