Analysts rewire Netflix stock price target ahead of earnings

If you’re a fan of “The Platform,” we’ve got great news: Netflix  (NFLX)  is releasing a sequel.

The 2019 dystopian sci-fi movie about a brutal vertical prison was one of the most popular Spanish films in Netflix history, the streaming giant said on July 11. It ranked fifth in the non-English Film Top Ten category with 82.8 million views.

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The film was well-received and racked up additional reviews after a surge in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Guardian’s Sam Jones called it “the perfect parable for life in the time of the coronavirus and a visceral investigation of how a crisis can expose not only the stratification of human society but also the immutable strands of selfishness coded into our DNA.”

Hey, with a write-up like that, how could you not expect a sequel? “The Platform 2” is set to drop on Netflix on Oct. 4. 

The company unveiled a new trailer and images for the follow-up flick as well of a description of the new story line.

“As a mysterious leader imposes their rule in the Platform, a new resident becomes embroiled in the battle against this controversial method to fight the brutal feeding system,” the plot synopsis reads. 

“But when eating from the wrong plate becomes a death sentence, how far would you be willing to go to save your life?”

Netflix is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings on July 18.

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Co-CEO: ‘We’re thrilling our members’

Not into “The Platform?” Well, how about the Israeli series “A Body That Works”? 

The show is about a Tel Aviv couple who can’t have a baby and hire a surrogate. The Jerusalem Post reported that it’s on Netflix’s top 10 in a whole bunch of countries.

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If that’s not floating your boat, then ship out with Leif Erikson and company in the final season of “Vikings” spinoff “Vikings: Valhalla,” which is available for streaming.

And if none of that’s working for you, the people at Netflix want you to keep looking because, as Co-Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos told analysts in April, “happy members watch more.”

“They stick around longer,” Sarandos said as he explained why Netflix focuses on engagement. “They tell friends, which all grows engagement, revenue and profit, our North Stars.”

Netflix reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and revenue as its subscriber growth surged. The streaming company’s subscribers grew 16% year-over-year to 269.6 million, adding 9.33 million new paying customers.

“I would say the thing we’re doing is we’re thrilling our members,” Sarandos said during the company’s earnings call. “That’s the thing we set out, and it’s why we all bounce out of bed in the morning.”

Netflix had the No. 1 film on streaming eight of the first 11 weeks of the year, and the No. 1 original series nine of the first 11 weeks, he said.

Co-CEO Greg Peters said Netflix connects “folks with titles that they will love, which then enables us to find the largest audiences for those titles that we think that they could get anywhere.

“And then, of course, we seek to maximize the fandom and the impact on the conversation and the cultural zeitgeist that all those titles have,” he said.

When it comes to pricing, Peters told analysts that “we don’t have a set position on a ceiling.”

“And as we add more entertainment value, then, of course, we can go back to our subscribers and ask them to pay a little bit more to keep that virtuous cycle moving,” he said.

Netflix is scheduled to post second-quarter results on July 18, and several analysts adjusted their stock price targets ahead of the report.

Analyst raises subscriber estimates 

JPMorgan raised the firm’s price target on Netflix to $750 from $650 and affirmed an overweight rating on the shares, according to The Fly.

The investment firm said it remained positive on Netflix shares heading into the second-quarter report, while also recognizing Wall Street’s high expectations.

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The firm raised its second-quarter estimate of net subscriber additions to 6 million from 5 million. The company expects net adds to be lower than the 9.3 million of Q1 but below investor expectations, which are likely 8 million-plus.

JPMorgan said Netflix’s expectations for 2024 reported revenue growth of 13% to 15%, operating-profit margins of 25%, and free cash flow of $6 billion could each prove conservative.

On July 11, Citi analysts maintained a neutral rating and $660 price target on NFLX. 

The investment firm said it expected Netflix to report net additions modestly ahead of sell-side estimates but modestly below investor expectations.

Investors will likely remain focused on the company’s advertising tier, sports content strategy and capital allocation, Citi said. With the stock up 45% year-to-date, Citi said it was cautious heading into the earnings report.

One day earlier, KeyBanc raised the firm’s price target on Netflix to $735 from $707 and affirmed an overweight rating on the shares.

The firm said the upcoming report will reinforce that net additions remain strong into a robust content slate and monetization initiatives.

Recent price increases by competitors and ongoing low rates of churn support Netflix price increases over coming quarters. (Churn measures the customers who switch to other streaming-service providers.)

Netflix has ample room to sustain more than 10% annual revenue growth with 2% to 3% annual operating margin expansion as pricing returns to a more normal cadence, KeyBanc said.

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