Netflix will go mostly unscathed in the streaming wars

Netflix sign Los Gatos
Netflix displayed some vulnerability earlier this year when its prolonged U.S. subscriber growth streak surprisingly reversed in the second quarter. (Netflix)

The streaming wars are coming. Legacy media and new entrants alike will soon flood the market with tons of new streaming services. But, Netflix still likely will be standing tall with the smoke clears.

That’s according to a new consumer survey from Piper Jaffray, which found that most consumers will stick with Netflix even as new services like Disney+ and Apple TV+ appear. The firm surveyed about 1,500 subscribers, and found that approximately 75% don’t plan to subscribe to Disney+ or Apple TV+, while the “vast majority” of people who do plan on getting one of those new services intend to keep Netflix.

“Most existing Netflix subscribers appear to be trending towards multiple streaming video subscriptions, especially as many continue to reduce their spend on traditional TV offerings,” Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson said.

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Piper Jaffray’s upbeat note on Netflix contrasts with the concerns many other financial analyst firms have expressed about the streaming giant’s future.

Netflix displayed some vulnerability earlier this year when its prolonged U.S. subscriber growth streak surprisingly reversed in the second quarter. The company dropped approximately 130,000 subscribers in the U.S., representing the first time Netflix lost domestic subscribers since 2011. The company also only added 2.7 million paid memberships, dramatically fewer than the 5 million it had forecast.

But thanks to popular series like “Stranger Things,” Netflix predicted it would return to growth and add 7 million paid memberships (800,000 in the U.S. and 6.2 million internationally) in the third quarter.

Still, concerns about Netflix’s increasing content budget and potentially waning pricing power have caused the company’s stock to take a beating recently. As the report points out, Netflix stock has dropped nearly 30% since July, and wiped out its 2019 gains.

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How can we defend ourselves? Mostly, it’s a matter of common sense.