Netflix could lose 4 million subscribers next year in the US alone

Needham and Co was the fourth Wall Street brokerage in two months to cut its rating for Netflix on Tuesday, arguing competition from new streaming services could lead to the loss of 4 million premium US subscribers next year.

Needham analyst Laura Martin, who downgraded the California-based tech giant to “underperform”, believes Netflix will have to add a lower priced service to compete with competitors including Apple’s Apple TV+ service and Walt Disney’s Disney+.

A viewer streaming an episode of Friends on Netflix: Losing the '90s sitcom will cost the company.
A viewer streaming an episode of Friends on Netflix: Losing the ’90s sitcom will cost the company. Credit:AP

The cut came a day after Netflix dominated nominations for January’s Golden Globe awards, landing 17 in TV categories and 17 more for movies, including leading contenders “Marriage Story” and “The Irishman”.

Netflix’s video streaming push has seen subscriber numbers dwarf those of rival services at the cost of huge investment in both regional and international content on its platform.


The streaming service had 60.62 million paid subscribers in the United States as of its latest quarter ended September 30, accounting for over a third of its global subscriber base.

The approach comes at the cost of a rising debt pile, which stood at $US12.43 billion ($18.2 billion) as of September 30, sparking concerns among investors.

Martin argued that the video streaming pioneer’s staunch refusal to allow advertising on its platform force it to stick with premium price points which will result in subscriber losses in its most profitable market.

“Netflix’s premium price tier of $US9 to $US16 per month is unsustainable,” Martin said, adding that the loss of popular TV shows such as “Friends” and ‘The Office’ to its competitors could hit the company’s value over time.

Netflix shares, which have been under pressure this year, fell 2.6 per cent to $US294.50 in trading before the bell on Tuesday.

Martin is now the sixth analyst to rate the stock sell or lower. A majority of brokerages still rate the stock at ‘buy’ or higher.


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