FBR’s Take On Two Media Giants: Pandora Media Inc (P), Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)

FBR analyst Barton Crockett is joining the earnings discussion on two popular media players: Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P), whose fourth-quarter preannouncement has had investors out celebrating today, and Netflix, Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX), who has a “healthy backdrop” leading up to the print due next Wednesday.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, five-star analyst Barton Crockett is ranked #299 out of 4,3242 analysts. Crockett has a 62% success rate and realizes 8.1% in his yearly returns. When recommending P, Crockett earns 4.3% in average profits on the stock. When suggesting NFLX, Crockett garners 12.0%.

Let’s dive in:

Pandora Makes a Resounding Comeback with Strong 4Q Pre-Announcement

Pandora investors¬†were met with a “surprising high note” today when the music streaming firm preannounced fourth-quarter earnings that sent shares rising nearly 8% and have Crockett accordingly raising his estimates.

Pleased with the preannouncement, the analyst remains sidelined, but positive, reiterating a Market Perform on P while boosting the price target from $12 to $14, which represents an 8% increase from where the shares last closed.

Pandora will release its full quarterly print on February 9th, and management has already indicated a revenue outperformance compared to its guide for $362 million to $374 million coupled with EBITDA of ($51 million) to ($39 million).

“CEO Tim Westergren added, in a quote in the press release, that P accelerated core ad revenues, increased ad RPM, and ‘saw strong improvements in adjusted EBITDA.’ We read the EBITDA statement to mean that consolidated EBITDA in 4Q16 was better than the loss of $6.6M reported in 3Q16,” the analyst discloses.

Crockett praises the firm for its encouraging comeback from last quarter, opining, “On October 26, after an investor day and a 3Q16 earnings report that surprised us with higher costs and a disappointing ad trend, we downgraded P to Market Perform. Post-close, January 12, P surprised us the other way with a preannouncement of upside in 4Q16, cost cutting, and a rosier profit track in 2017 than we had foreseen.”

Though the analyst had been expecting massive losses this year for the stock, CEO Westergren asserts that the firm will steer “toward full-year adjusted EBITDA profitability.” Although, it is worthy to note that P will also be reducing its non-Ticketfly workforce by 7%.

However, even with predominantly good news, the analyst remains cautious amid steep competition ahead, with the Wall Street Journal reporting just yesterday that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) intends to enter into the mix by adding premium, original video to Apple Music- “a feature that, we believe, Apple could match and toward toward which Spotify is aiming. But video seems outside P’s wheelhouse and cost capacity,” concludes Crockett.

TipRanks analytics indicate P as a Buy. Based on 20 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 9 rate a Buy on P stock, 9 maintain a Hold, while 2 issue a Sell. The 12-month average price target stands at $14.59, marking a 13% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

Netflix Approaches 4Q Earnings Amid Promising Backdrop, But Long-Term Questions Arise

Netflix is set to deliver its fourth-quarter results January 18th, and while Crockett thinks the online streaming giant has “nice” conditions approaching the report, he maintains caution with apprehension for a “high hurdle for 2017.”

Therefore, ahead of the print, the analyst reiterates a Market Perform on shares of NFLX with a $100 price target, which represents a close to 25% decrease from current levels.

Crockett underscores, “Our checks suggest a firming of global consumer interest in Netflix in 4Q16, a healthy backdrop heading into the earnings report due out post close on Wednesday, January 18. But the equity, up 30% in the last three months (versus the S&P 500 up 6%), already anticipates much of this, and we believe bulls are too blithely eager to argue for accelerating sub growth in 2017, versus tough comps, and a little too quick to dismiss risks tied to potential change in the regulatory landscape under President-elect Trump.”

A big win for Netflix is that in most territories where the analyst tracked Google searches, the trend in searching for the giant proved to either mirror that of third-quarter results or indicated an improvement. “To us, this suggests a backdrop of steady to improving global consumer interest, a good backdrop for Netflix’s ability to execute versus guidance for 4Q16,” asserts Crockett.

Overall, for the analyst, the main long-term question points to regulations, as he contends, “If Trump’s FCC advisors have their way, we suspect that restraints on zero-based data services and net neutrality could go away, which we believe could stoke concerns for sentiment toward Netflix that could weigh on valuation.”

TipRanks analytics demonstrate NFLX as a Buy. Out of 34 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 18 are bullish on Netflix stock, 13 remains sidelined, and 3 are bearish on the stock. With a loss potential of nearly 3%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $128.89.

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