Cable companies got some false hope yesterday, as Netflix missed its predictions and had to report to Wall Street for a spanking for not making enough money. You know, because adding a million subscribers and earning $900 million in three months, that totally makes you crappy!
The problem is really that Netflix promised more than it could deliver:
The company had promised 7 million new subscribers this year. The third quarter number puts it up to 3.43 million, and the company is lowering expectations for Q4.
That was enough to temporarily ding the stock 17%, although it quickly made it back after people realized that it was insane to dent a profitable company.
One thing that is true is that Netflix is no longer enjoying watching its competitors screw up. Amazon Instant Video and Hulu have both managed to get some traction, partially thanks to the former finally putting together some apps for once and the latter, uh, we guess people really like Community?
The real problem is, in a word, overlap. Netflix states that of the top ten shows, six are only available on Netflix, but that’s not really as much of an advantage as it sounds. If you use the three services regularly, while they all have unique offerings, they’ve also got a lot of crossover, especially as Amazon has spent a small fortune trying to boost Prime. If you only want one, you’ll probably find yourself wondering why you should keep Netflix over the others.
Not helping matters is Netflix’s international expansion, which will likely be rewarding over time but is not going to be cheap, by Netflix’s own admission. So Netflix now actually has to go out and earn more subscribers. Start with Community. Or maybe this.