There are plenty of movies, serialized dramas, and even game shows depicting the rise of millionaires these days. Some investors are making seven figures happen just by purchasing the media companies that make streaming those shows possible.
Netflix (NFLX -1.78%), Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI -1.21%), and Amazon.com (AMZN -1.57%) are three players in streaming media that have been 100-baggers on Wall Street. Let's take a closer look at how long it took these three stocks to turn $10,000 into a cool million.
The world's leading premium video streaming service saw its stock crack above $500 for the first time on Wednesday. You'd have to grab the shares below $5 to transform a $10,000 investment into $1,000,000, and that covers most investors who bought into Netflix before the springtime of 2009.
Netflix went public at $15 in 2002, but a pair of stock splits in 2004 and 2015 drops that adjusted cost basis down to just $1.07. Netflix wasn't a streaming company in its early years. Founder CEO Reed Hastings was happy renting out DVDs by mail through the first few years of the platform's existence. However, Hastings was brazen enough to disrupt his own model by introducing streaming video in 2007.
It wasn't an easy sell at first. The country didn't have the arsenal of streaming gadgetry and speedy broadband to make it feasible for most homes. But Netflix stuck to its vision, introducing original programming a couple of years later. The product is so popular now that it's been able to raise its monthly rates four times in the past six years and keep growing. Its latest guidance has it topping 190 million paid streaming subscribers worldwide by the end of the quarter that ended last week.
Sirius XM Radio
You had to have laser-focused accuracy to nail the bottom on Sirius XM Radio to score one of the more surprising 100-baggers among media stocks. It was Feb. 11, 2009 -- a couple of weeks before the window would close on Netflix's opportunity -- that the satellite radio monopoly's stock traded for a mere nickel.
The media company had completed the merger of Sirius and XM the summer before, but it was running low on liquidity. Sirius XM was on the brink of bankruptcy, but a big investor helped save the day -- and the satellite radio provider hasn't had to look back ever since. The shares have been consistently profitable since 2010, and the stock has delivered positive returns for 11 consecutive years.
Sirius XM may not seem like a streaming media company, but it's no longer limited to satellites beaming into your car's dashboard receiver. It has offered digital streams for years, but it has amped up its game on that front with the $3.5 billion deal for Pandora last year.
Amazon got its start selling books. It added CDs and DVDs as its next two major product categories. These days it delivers books, music, and video digitally through its widening streaming ecosystem. If you're old school, you can definitely still pick up the content in physical form. Amazon knows how to move product across all channels.
The world's largest online retailer has taken a bit longer than Netflix or Sirius XM to turn $10,000 into a million big ones. Instead of early 2009 as the last open window to score a 100-bagger, you have to go all the way back to September in 2006 to find the last time Amazon stock was fetching less than $30. The shares are north of $3,000 today. It's one of just three U.S. stocks with a market cap above $1 trillion.
Netflix, Sirius XM, and Amazon have been monster growth stocks over the past decade and change. All three investments have afforded opportunistic buyers the chance to turn $10,000 into $1,000,000.