Netflix Stock Tanks After New Q3 Forecast

Netflix shares took a tumble on Thursday after the company revised its guidance on domestic subscriber numbers for the third quarter (PDF). The news arrives after the company revamped its subscriptions and essentially raised the price 60-percent on those who previously streamed and rented video on DVD simultaneously.

Last summer the company originally predicted 22 million subscribers in its streaming service and 15 million subscribers in its DVD service by the end of September 2011. But on Thursday the company was forced to reduce the number of streaming subscribers down to 21.8 million and the number of DVD subscribers to 14.2 million thanks to its clever price hike which took place at the beginning of the month.

According to reports, Netflix shares actually dropped 14.5-percent after the revised guidance was released, reducing the price-per-share down to $178.56 USD, taking a $30 per-share hit. In addition to the new Q3 numbers, the share drop may also be associated to Starz Entertainment's decision to not renew its streaming deal with Netflix, citing the inability to reach an agreement with the streaming/rental service.

"This decision is a result of our strategy to protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content," Starz said on September 1. "With our current studio rights and growing original programming presence, the network is in an excellent position to evaluate new opportunities and expand its overall business."

Thursday's revised Q3 guidance backed up the company's decision to split its streaming/DVD service into two entities, claiming that it was the "right long-term strategic choice" despite the drop in subscribers. "We know our decision to split our services has upset many of our subscribers, which we don’t take lightly, but we believe this split will help us make our services better for subscribers and shareholders for years to come," the company said.

Netflix also outlined its reasoning for dividing the streaming/DVD service into two separate subscriptions:

  1. to create a dedicated DVD rental division that takes pride in great execution and maximizes the opportunity for disc rental over the coming decade;
  2. to enable us to improve our global streaming service even more rapidly, because it is not meshed with a domestic DVD business;
  3. to enable us, with the growth in revenue, to license more streaming content and thereby improve our streaming service even more;
  4. to remain very price aggressive, with $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of a huge library of TV shows and movies, and $7.99 per month for unlimited DVD rentals, 1 out at-a-time.

Still, with subscribers jumping ship and stock value falling, maybe Netflix didn't make the best decision. It remains to be seen when Blockbuster launches its own video streaming subscription service next month. Will Blockbuster reclaim its throne?

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • The Starz content on netflix is 99.9% crap anyway. Good ridden to them. Netflix should probably say this out loud for the public to gain some traction and recover their losses.
  • Kamab
    I'd call out Starz and Sony on their "valuable content." I believe Netflix does much more for them than vice versa.

    As for splitting up their service into dvd/streaming, I just canceled my DVD subscription, which wasn't as valuable to me as the streaming anyways.
  • The Greater Good
    Too bad so sad.
  • beardguy
    Does anyone really care about Starz? The company sounds like it's holding on for dear life to survive.

    I really like Netflix. The Wii version is slick and it works perfect with the wiimote. This price hike is absurd though, and hopefully it made Netflix realize that it's not invincible like it thought it was. You can't screw your customers over like that.

    It would be great for them to drop the price back down after all the negative publicity, but I doubt that will ever happen.
  • Gotta say I love the appropriateness of the picture in relation to the article.

    Oh well, more power to the consumers for learning to talk with their wallets. Wish more people would do the same.
  • christop
    Yep dropped them after the price hike. Their new releases are like from 86 also.
  • davewolfgang
    People are freaking out over those numbers??!??!?! Point something out of millions??? If it was a couple million, SURE I can see some panic.
  • Wow...seriously? Ok, so they only have 37 millions subscribers left...

    Also, their prices are dirt cheap. It's by far the bet out there. People should stop whining.
  • Except they've raised prices on consumers yet their streaming library is only getting smaller with the exit of Starz Play. It sort of contradicts their third point:

    "3. to enable us, with the growth in revenue, to license more streaming content and thereby improve our streaming service even more"
  • Netflix was offering Starz more than 10 times their original contract and Starz declined them and went to Blockbuster (makes you wonder if it wasn't some sort of secret deal ahead of time). I think content providers are finally taking online streaming seriously and are really pressuring Netflix for MUCH higher payments. So taking into account the greed of content providers and also the ISP's which are probably also pressuring Netflix - Even a 60% increase in price is pretty justifiable I think.
    But it wasn't really a 60% increase in price - they just took away a promotional offer. Which honestly even if they really increased everyone's fees by 60% - they'd still be the cheapest in the market and if you're totally broke - then eat at McDonalds one day less out of the month or don't have your Starbucks coffee for two days.