Don’t Touch Netflix as it Essentially Rebrands

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) isn’t the same company it was during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and pandemic woes have lifted, making way for a post-pandemic hangover that sees a seriously shaky economy.

Netflix is dealing with increased competition, which is slowing growth and leading it to predict a drop off of 2 million paid subscribers in the second quarter (Q2), for which results will be released on Jul. 19. The question then becomes: should you invest now with the expectation of a beat to follow?

Ticker Company Price
NFLX Netflix, Inc. $189.97

Trouble Ahead for NFLX Stock

Netflix’s expectation that paid subscribers will decrease by 2 million in Q2 is one of the starkest reminders of its decline. A year ago, the company was predicting that its paid subscriber base would increase by 1.5 million during the same period. 

Substantial decline in paid subscriptions it is still growing. Netflix anticipates that revenue will grow by 10% in the upcoming quarter. But overall growth isn’t the problem, it’s the overall slowing of growth that is. 

What that means is that Netflix is likely to backtrack on past promises in order to offset miscalculations it made during the height of the pandemic. 

Big Changes

Joel Mier, Netflix’s former director of marketing, is quick to note that the firm is seeking growth by reconsidering its previous beliefs

One of the biggest is that the company is considering a crackdown on password sharing. The company was notably open to the practice for a long period of time, but now that revenue has become harder to find, it is singing a different tune. The company plans to charge accounts that are shared with users outside of the home address with extra fees. 

The same is true when it comes to advertising. Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings has long advocated against advertising as a revenue source, as he believed the added complexity to be unjustified from a business perspective. 

Then, back in April, he changed his mind after seeing lower-priced competitors have success with the model. 

The same about-face is evidenced in Netflix’s stance on live sports and binge-watching. The company was long against live sports, but seems to have changed its mind again as it bids for Formula 1 rights. And Netflix could soon be reverting to a long-held format of linear TV as it considers adding shows with appointed timeslots rather than the binge format it has long embraced. 

The point, as Joel Mier notes, is that while Netflix searches for new ways to rev up sagging revenue, it risks damaging the brand that it has built. 

Takeaway on NFLX Stock

I would stay away from Netflix currently, despite its low price. It is very clear that the competition has caught up on multiple fronts. Netflix is now acquiescing on former brand tenets that made it what it was. There are no guarantees that any changes will improve slowing revenue growth and every chance they alienate paid subscribers who are already dropping off in droves. 

On the date of publication, Alex Sirois did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Alex Sirois is a freelance contributor to InvestorPlace whose personal stock investing style is focused on long-term, buy-and-hold, wealth-building stock picks.Having worked in several industries from e-commerce to translation to education and utilizing his MBA from George Washington University, he brings a diverse set of skills through which he filters his writing.