Wall Street investors are intently waiting for the final bell to toll this evening when Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) drops its highly anticipated second-quarter print for 2017. In a quarter that included the hyped, conversation-starter 13 Reasons Why, original content was robust this quarter- a quarter that is typically not the video streaming giant’s most ideal. New subscriber additions will still dictate the giant’s fate as well as the giant’s long-term prospects, both on the domestic front as well as in a global perspective.
Rosenblatt analyst Alan Gould is less confident, even considering that Netflix boasted particularly compelling original content this quarter, explaining, “The quarter had strong original content offering including 13 Reasons Why which was released at the very end of the first quarter and the fifth seasons of both House of Cards -Season 5 and Orange is the New Black, although the latter two shows appear to be aging and show slightly less interest than prior years on Google trends.”
If two of Netflix’s key content contenders are fading in user enthusiasm, that does not speak to much confidence for Gould’s take on the giant’s long-term set-up. For now, the analyst reiterates a Neutral rating on shares of NFLX with a $155 price target, which represents a just under 4% downside from where the stock is currently trading. (To watch Gould’s track record, click here.)
Meanwhile, in terms of the crux metric of subscriber net adds, history has Gould worried about Netflix’s second quarter specifically, as he elaborates, “Netflix’s last big subscriber miss was during the second quarter last year, and there was a small subscriber miss last quarter, so we would not be surprised if the guidance provided was a bit conservative. We are slightly ahead of consensus at 3.57 million subs for the quarter, with the difference being a higher international number. We note that the company hit 100 million subscribers on July 21, implying that it added 1.25 million subscribers in 21 days, so surpassing the 3.2 million guidance should quite likely.”
Still deeming subscribers “the most important metric,” the analyst concludes by adding free cash flow is catching up quickly in its level of significance, leading the analyst to forecast guidance to stay within an approximate $2 billion cap for the year. More bullish than consensus, the analyst also expects Netflix to bring in $395 million for the second quarter, ahead of consensus at $347 million.
Meanwhile in terms of EPS coupled with contribution profit, the analyst sees Netflix in “strong standing” on back of the momentum of “scale economies.” Just a hair ahead of consensus (a.k.a. one single cent), the analyst projects EPS to reach $0.17, taking Gould two cents ahead of the company outlook, a nice bump up from the analyst’s expectations for $0.09 this time last year.
Top analyst Mark Mahaney at RBC Capital chimes in to shed more bullish light on the stock, particularly following an RBC Bus Tour where he spoke with the giant’s management team. The result? “We […] came away from the meeting incrementally more positive on Netflix’s long-term potential.”
Ahead of second-quarter financial results, the analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on NFLX with a price target of $175, which represents an 8% increase from current levels. (To watch Mahaney’s track record, click here.)
For the second quarter, the analyst forecasts $2.76 billion in total revenue as well as $0.15 in GAAP EPS, aligning with the Street’s expectations as well as the giant’s own EPS outlook. Additionally, the analyst is angling for 600,000 in domestic screaming subscription additions, less bullish than the Street’s 631,000, as well as an estimate of 2.60MM in international streaming subscription additions, coinciding well with the Street’s 2.59MM projection. For the third quarter, the analyst anticipates, “[…] we believe the Street’s outlook for roughly 731K Domestic Sub Ads might be slightly aggressive, although its estimate of 3.2MM International Sub Adds seems reasonable. The Street’s $0.23 GAAP EPS for Q3 seems ballpark reasonable.”
From Mahaney’s eyes, he suggests drawing attention to the following three fundamentals to focus on for the video giant moving forward: “1) Subscription metrics and trends – We estimate 600K net new U.S. streaming subs (vs. Street’s 631K) and 2.60MM net new International streaming subs (vs. Street’s 2.59MM), in line with company guidance. 2) Domestic streaming contribution margins – We are looking for a 36.8% segment contribution margin (up 250 bps Y/Y), which implies 33% Y/Y growth in Netflix’s Q2 Domestic streaming contribution profit. 3) International profitability – Following Netflix’s first-ever International contribution profit of $43MM in Q1, we expect a loss of $28MM in Q2.”
TipRanks analytics demonstrate NFLX as a Buy. Out of 28 analysts polled by TipRanks, 19 are bullish on Netflix stock, 8 remain sidelined, and 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of 4%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $167.67.