Is Netflix Stock a buy after its spectacular fall from grace?

The streaming pioneer has lost favor with investors, but a complicated plot might obscure a fairy-tale ending.

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This article was originally published on All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) stock plunged in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, losing roughly a third of its value overnight. The catalyst that had investors running for the exits was news that the streaming pioneer actually lost subscribers during the first quarter, something that hasn't happened in more than 10 years.

Factoring in today's decline, Netflix is down more than 67% since November. Given its spectacular fall from grace, is Netflix stock a buy?

It's complicated

Like so many things, the answer isn't the same for every investor, but there are a number of factors that suggest Netflix still has plenty of growth ahead.

Management estimates password-sharing is taking place in more than 100 million households. While Netflix doesn't mind this within families, it plans to crack down on friends and exes, introducing paid-sharing plans. Additionally, recent supply chain issues have slowed adoption of smart TVs, which is temporarily weighing on subscriber growth.

Netflix plans to continue its focus on quality programming, with recent hits like Squid Game, Bridgerton, Inventing Anna, and The Adam Project as examples, as well as expanding its personalized local-language content to continue growing its international audience.

CFO Spencer Neumann cited several macro factors, including the war in Eastern Europe, inflation, and seasonality, as the biggest contributors to churn, though these issues should abate over time. Furthermore, Netflix shed 700,000 customers when it withdrew its service from Russia. If not for that, it would have added 500,000 subscribers.

One of the biggest revelations is that Netflix is, at long last, considering a lower-cost, ad-supported tier. Co-CEO Reed Hastings has long balked at the idea, but has had a change of heart, as evidenced by his comments during the company's conference call to discuss the results:

One way to increase the price spread is advertising on low-end plans and to have lower prices with advertising. ... I've been against the complexity of advertising and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription. But as much I'm a fan of that, I'm a bigger fan of consumer choice.

The bottom line? There's no question the streaming pioneer will need to make some adjustments to its business and that won't happen overnight. But given the levers the company can pull to reaccelerate its growth and its success at reinventing itself over the years, I believe Netflix stock is a buy. 

This article was originally published on All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Daniel Vena owns Netflix. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and has recommended Netflix. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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