Analysts Disagree About Future Of Netflix

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Two financial analysts issued widely divergent views of Netflix's potential on Monday. B. Riley & Co. analyst Eric Wold noted that while Netflix has a clear lead in streaming -- mostly TV reruns, older movies, and a handful of original programs -- 64 percent of its profits continues to come from its movies-by-mail operations. Those operations, Wold observed, are at risk from competitive pressures by bundled subscription services in general and Redbox Instant by Verizon in particular. Redbox Instant, he notes, is able to offer many new DVD releases on the day they go on sale, while Netflix has to wait 28 days. Moreover Redbox Instant charges $8 per month for both discs by mail and streaming, about what Netflix charges for one or the other. On the other hand, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield, who has been highly critical of Netflix's business model in the past, has apparently undergone a 180-degree change-of-mind. In fact, he writes, it is now hard to find anyone who does not want Netflix to succeed. In particular, he notes that Netflix may be benefiting from an intangible quality -- like HBO -- that will enable it to retain subscribers even during periods when people can't find anything to watch that interests them. They are trying to reach a point where consumers know that there will always be something new and interesting coming that requires a Netflix subscription, he wrote.


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