Shares of streaming video veteran Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) rose 1.8% in March, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. That's actually a significant return in a month where the S&P 500 sank 12.5%. Netflix's stock followed the market lower in the early days of the coronavirus crisis, then took a sharp turn upward when it became clear that people around the world would have a lot of time to spend with their Netflix accounts for the next few weeks or months.
With millions of people stuck at home, online entertainment services like Netflix are in the global spotlight right now. Market tracker Comscore says that daytime TV viewing is up 10% year over year in North America. Analytics firms Apptopia and Braze said that consumers installed a market-leading 59 million Netflix apps in the first quarter. As a reminder, Netflix had 167 million global subscribers at the end of Q4, aiming to add 7 million more in the first quarter. Nobody expects 59 million new accounts here -- a single Netflix household is likely to install the app on several devices, after all -- but all signs point to an impressive round of subscriber additions when the company reports its Q1 results on April 21.
Netflix has also shut down its content production operations, which will leave the catalog with a leaner stream of fresh shows and films in the second half of 2020. However, Netflix has kept a manic pace of content production over the past three years, giving the company a chance to promote older pieces that may have gone underappreciated in the torrential flood of new titles.
And that's not all. Consumers who spend a lot of time with Netflix in the coronavirus safer-at-home era will probably be more loyal to the brand in the future. The same is also true for other streaming platforms, but Netflix has always been the front-runner in this emerging market and should reap the greatest benefits from increased consumer exposure.
Put that fantastic market position together with a stalled share price and you'll see why Netflix is one of the best stocks you can buy right now.