Another day, another market sell-off. And things are getting a little indiscriminate. Take today’s 5% to 7% drop in the stocks of Disney, Discovery and ViacomCBS, apparently triggered by a 22% plunge in the price of Netflix. It’s a little like a teacher punishing an entire class for the misdeeds of one student. Penalizing TV stocks for Netflix’s sharply slowing growth doesn’t make much sense. It’s arguably the competition posed by these very companies—with their newish streaming services—that is one of the factors weighing on Netflix’s growth.
Adding insult to injury, none of the three has enjoyed the incredible run-up in value that Netflix has seen in recent years—they’re each valued well below the video-streaming pioneer on a multiple of revenue and profits. That makes sense, given that Netflix has been growing 20% to 40% a year for most of the past decade, while the TV companies were plodding along at mostly single-digit percentages. But it is Netflix's valuation that should contract as its growth rate slows, not those of the other companies.