Netflix valuation, a House of Cards?

Worldwide fans of Congressman Francis Underwood’s adventures are going nuts for the release of Season 3. Yet the market is not impressed: NFLX share price dropped by 1.68% on the same day.

In fact, analyst widely agree Netflix current valuation (Nasdaq: NFLX) depends heavily on its ability on creating quality original programming and marketing them effectively. The uncertainty on future strategy which causes high volatility and recently determined a fully recovered sharp 26.4% drop needs to be addressed more clearly.

Netflix said its 320 hours of original programming in 2015 actually cost less than most of its licensed content. “We try to make each project more efficient and effective than studio content we’d otherwise be licensing,” the company said in its fourth-quarter investor letter.

house-of-cards-season-3-teaser

For its part, Netflix has been transparent about its ramp-up in spending for original content that brought 45 Emmy, 10 Golden Globe and two Academy Award nominations and several wins in just two years. “We will continue to grow the percentage of our content spending dedicated to originals for the next several years,” the company said. “This will mean more cash usage, which means more debt.” Looking at the number of shows, basically every four weeks we’re going to have something new and fresh to watch on Netflix with House of Cards-like quality. But financially this means using cash and increasing debt for pushing a complicated international growth that is at the moment the most credible growth strategy.

It has also been noted that while concerns over profitability and negative free cash flow appear to be an afterthought for investors right now, at some point that attitude will shift and when that happens, we can expect Netflix shares to trade down significantly from their current levels at 109.84 P/E ratio.

Nevertheless, the recent ruling in favor of net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, was a big win for Netflix as product and for the digital distribution sector in general, since ISPs will not be able to discriminate or charge differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.

Season 1 and 2 of House of Cards helped the streaming giant adding globally a total of 3 and 4 million subscribers respectively, whereas the main effect of the new season may be the retention of current customers rather than new subscriptions. The growing curve is slowly flattering and Los Gatos should open up new business opportunities in order to build up new revenue streams if they want to survive the increasing competition, from legal players as well as from piracy, which also causes higher marketing expenditure. One direction could be finding a way to exploit the potential synergies with theatrical day-and-date releases as they are going to do with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny.

Kevin keeps doing it his way

I guess I’m just continuing  to do disruptive  behavior. If you look at what’s happening in entertainment, particularly  in terms of the way  lots of emerging  talents are finding  ways to get their material  out, and audiences who are finding all kinds of new platforms to discover content,  it makes sense.  It seems to me movies like this are quite often undervalued by the industry. They sort of slot them and say ‘it’s really just for a small audience’. I could have gone the traditional route and taken the film to a film festival, with a little hat in my hand, and sit in some restaurant and try to make a deal with Harvey Weinstein at midnight. I have never self-distributed before. It’s a massive amount to learn in a very quick period of time. It’s very exciting. It is kind of nice to be in control.

Now: In The Wings On A World Stage is a documentary about the ten-month world tour in which he played Richard III: although it is going to play theatrically, it will also be available for a download purchase at KevinSpacey.com.

kevin spacey now

The docu premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, played one night at premium prices at L.A.’s Landmark Theaters, is available today in the US and will roll out in the UK in June and in the rest of the world over the next eight to ten months.

In some ways I wanted to make the film for people who don’t get theatre, who don’t understand it. I also wanted  to make it for people who do love theatre. And do understand it. No matter how good an actor may be in a film they will never be any better. It’s frozen. In the theatre you might be better tomorrow night than you were tonight.

Going back to the great success of House of Cards, Kevin reminds that for the first time a show has been given an order of two seasons without shooting a pilot.

I think there’s something very interesting about what the Netflix model demonstrates, that perhaps we are learning what the music industry didn’t learn. Give people what they want in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and the chances are they will buy it and not steal it. Audiences have proved one thing: that they also want to be in control.