For investors who still think it’s a good idea to buy Netflix, an analyst who just initiated coverage says they’re forgetting one key thing: It’s not the only game in town.
Victor Anthony at Axiom Capital Management initiated coverage video on Netflix at “Sell” Monday, with a 12-month price target of $80—an 18% downside from the stock’s Friday close.
“We see rising competition, diminishing pricing power, and rising content costs putting pressure on Netflix’s ability to meet consensus longer-term subscriber growth and profit estimates,” Anthony wrote. “Investors are paying a super-rich multiple that, in our minds, calls for near flawless execution, an expectation we believe will be hard to achieve.”
Growing competition from both cable and new entrants account for part of the reason why Netflix’s domestic subscriber growth has slowed. Not only is the streaming service facing heavier competition from Amazon and Hulu, and HBO Now, YouTube is reportedly looking to license movies and TV shows via YouTube Red, while DirectTV recently announced three streaming services that will launch this year.
Anthony also cast doubt on Netflix’s ability to counter waning domestic subscriber growth by tapping into international markets.
The company has made a huge push into 130 countries this year and is expected to have more international than domestic subscribetrs by 2020. But that new base will be costly-—Netflix will have to license local content for each of those countries to keep its edge over local competition, which could make it fall short of its profit goals in the future, Anthony wrote.
All those risks don’t justify Netflix’s lofty 305 price-to-earnings ratio, according to Anthony. By comparison, investors are paying about $61 for $1 of Facebook’s earnings (FB), while Alphabet’s (GOOG) investors are willing to shell out around $30. Amazon’s (AMZN) p/e ratio rounds down to about 192.
As of Monday, 52% of analysts covering Netflix say the stock is a “Buy,” while 34% say “Hold,” and 13.6% suggest “Sell,” with an average 12-month price target of $102.25.