By Carly Forster
It’s fair to say that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) has single handedly created the video streaming market. However, as video streaming gets more and more popular, Netflix has been facing growing competition from big players like Internet giant Amazon.com. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).
Netflix has certainly come a long way since starting as a mail-order movie rental service in 1997. The company went public in May 2002 and has shot up an overwhelming 4,107.5% since. Netflix has been especially on fire in 2015, jumping up 95.2% so far this year.
Netflix remains the clear leader in the video streaming industry with over 62 million subscribers in over 50 countries. However, Amazon’s streaming service, Amazon Prime Instant Video, is not too far behind with over 50 million subscribers worldwide.
In Netflix’s latest quarterly report dated April 15, the company surpassed 40 million U.S subscribers and 20 million international subscribers. The company posted total streaming revenue of $1.4 billion, with $985 million from the U.S. and $415 million internationally. In its next quarterly report slated for July 15, Netflix forecasts $1.47 billion in revenue with $1.024 billion from the U.S and $450 million internationally.
Five-star analyst Laura Martin of Needham & Co believes Netflix’s “international subscribers have 2-3x faster profit trajectories than in the US, suggesting higher ROICs, and therefore higher lifetime value per subscriber than US subscribers.” Martin reiterated a Buy rating on Netflix last week and hiked up her price target to $780 from $600 (pre-stock split).
Laura Martin has rated Netflix a total of nine times since October 2013, earning an 89% success rate recommending the stock and a +27.7% average return per recommendation. Overall, She has a 73% success rate recommending stocks and a +28.7% average return per recommendation.
While Amazon did not provide specific numbers on its Prime subscriptions in its latest quarterly report, RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney sees “Prime Instant Video as a useful tool for expanding Prime membership and boosting retention.” The analyst continues “to believe that AMZN’s Prime Sub level is likely well over 50MM on a global basis and growing very robustly despite the major price increase.” Mark Mahaney currently has an Outperform rating on Amazon with a $500 price target.
Mark Mahaney has rated Amazon 33 times since April 2009, earning an 88% success rate recommending the company and a +27.7% average return per recommendation. The analyst currently has an overall success rate of 64% recommending stocks and a +22.6% average return per recommendation.
One of Netflix’s most successful strategies to entice new subscribers is providing original content on its platform; including award winning shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. The company has been continuously releasing original content throughout the year, which will amount to 320 hours by the end of 2015. This is the largest amount of original content Netflix has ever released.
Amazon is not far behind Netflix with this concept, however, as the company’s own original series, Transparent, won two Golden Globes earlier this year. In addition, Amazon has signed seasoned director Woody Allen to write and direct a 30 minute series that will stream on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service.
One key difference between Netflix and Amazon Prime is the price of each subscription. Netflix charges customers $8.99 a month, while Amazon charges a $99 annual fee. Although Netflix is slightly more expensive, subscribers have access to a lot more content than they do on Amazon Prime. However, in addition to video streaming, Amazon Prime also comes with a free, one day shipping service as well as many other perks.
Although Netflix and Amazon are competing in the same market, both stocks have an all-analyst consensus of Moderate Buy onTipRanks. But is there room for both Internet giants in the video streaming market? Only time will tell…