Disputes, Employee Misconduct Rattle Centerview’s Silicon Valley DreamsRead more

Photo by Bloomberg

Why Netflix’s Streaming Edge Won’t Erode

Photo: Photo by Bloomberg

It’s the quiet before the earnings storm, which makes it a good time to take a step back and consider the situation of Netflix, the first big tech name to report December quarter numbers, on Jan. 19. Its stock has nearly doubled since it bottomed out at around $167 in June, although even at current levels of around $315 it is still down 47% from where it started last year. That just gives a sense of the roller-coaster ride the stock has been on as the company disappointed investors with a slowdown in subscriber growth.

Bigger picture, though, the recent travails of some of its rivals, most obviously Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery, should highlight how much better Netflix is positioned in streaming. Netflix was fortunate to enjoy its years of rapid growth—and its biggest cash burn—at a time when interest rates were near zero, making it easy for it to raise money for expansion. The older entertainment companies are in the opposite position. Once prodigious generators of cash thanks to their cable TV businesses, they’re now trying to build their streaming businesses at a time of higher interest rates, when it is much less palatable to be burning bucket loads of cash on a new business.

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