On-demand streaming giant Netflix Inc. (NFLX), already up over 100% year-to-date (YTD), still has plenty of room to run, according to one bull on the Street who initiated coverage of the FAANG stock at outperform.
Credit Suisse analyst Doug Mitchelson took over coverage of a handful of media names on Wednesday from Stephen Ju. Out of the group, he is most bullish on Los Gatos, California-based Netflix, predicting that the firm's content spend will rise to a whopping $18.3 billion by 2028. Earlier this year, Netflix estimated that it would shell out $8 billion on original programming in 2018, while The Economist has pegged that number at as high as $13 billion. (See also: Netflix to Spend $13B on Original Content in 2018.)
In a note to clients Tuesday, Mitchelson noted that HBO, the first U.S. premium pay service, "has never seen its clear leadership challenged, and its lead in profitability has been only widening over time." As consumers around the world rapidly shift media consumption to streaming SVOD (subscription video on demand), Netflix, the market leader in the new burgeoning market, should enjoy "unchallenging leadership and disproportionate scale benefits."
Netflix's 'Content Flywheel Is Still Underestimated'
“Netflix’s leading global scale has created structural advantages that appear to us to be virtually insurmountable at this point," wrote Credit Suisse. As the firm builds out its content library, outspending its deep-pocketed tech peers and traditional media rivals, its value proposition for new subscribers will grow accordingly, wrote Mitchelson. "Netflix’s content flywheel, while well known at this point, is still underestimated longer-term, in our view (they add more torque every year)," he stated.
The analyst expects share to gain another 20% from Wednesday close to reach $500 over 12 months. Netflix stock, closing down about 0.9% on Wednesday at $415.14, have gained a whopping 116.3% in 2018, compared to the S&P 500's 4.1% growth. (See also: Can Disney Spend its Way to Content Dominance?)