As shares of on-demand video streaming platform Netflix Inc. (NFLX) surge about 45% so far this year, versus the S&P 500’s near 12% gain over the same period, one team of analysts on the Street joins the growing number of bulls expecting NFLX to continue outperforming the market.
On Wednesday, Wells Fargo initiated coverage on shares of the Los Gatos, Calif.-based entertainment company at outperform. Wells Fargo’s Ken Sena issued a $230 price target, indicating an approximate 28% upside from Thursday afternoon at $179.97. (See also: Buy Netflix, Rally Isn’t Over, Says Buckingham.)
A Focus on Quality Content
“Netflix continues to improve the quality of its streaming service with more content, a better interface, and a more informed view of who is watching what content, a trend we only see as continuing,” wrote Sena. For these reasons, the analyst expects Netflix to be harder to catch up to competitively than its peers.
The bullish note comes amidst worry over heightened competition in the subscription video-on-demand service space from rivals including Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Hulu, as well as Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA), who have all announced plans to double down on their own streaming services.
Last month, NFLX fell on news that Disney would pull its movies, including its popular Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films, from the streaming service in order to start its own by 2019. 21st Century Fox’s FX Networks revealed similar plans to remove its shows from rival streaming services including Netflix and Amazon in efforts to boost its recently launched FX+ streaming service.
Despite an increasingly crowded industry, Wells Fargo sees Netflix as the clear leader in the on-demand streaming space by a large margin, expecting the gap to only widen as the company continues to focus on enhancing the quality of its content and better target its individual viewers. (See also: Netflix of China Seeks as Up to $10B in IPO.)