Netflix Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
Netflix, Inc. (“Netflix”, “the Company”, “we”, or “us”) is the world’s leading internet television network with over 117 million streaming memberships in over 190 countries enjoying more than 140 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Our members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments. Additionally, in the United States ("U.S."), our members can receive DVDs delivered quickly to their homes.
We are a pioneer in the internet delivery of TV shows and movies, launching our streaming service in 2007. Since this launch, we have developed an ecosystem for internet-connected screens and have added increasing amounts of content that enable consumers to enjoy TV shows and movies directly on their internet-connected screens. As a result of these efforts, we have experienced growing consumer acceptance of, and interest in, the delivery of TV shows and movies directly over the internet.
Our core strategy is to grow our streaming membership business globally within the parameters of our profit margin targets. We are continuously improving our members' experience by expanding our streaming content with a focus on a programming mix of content that delights our members. In addition, we are continuously enhancing our user interface and extending our streaming service to more internet-connected screens. Our members can download a selection of titles for offline viewing.
We continue to grow our streaming service both domestically and internationally. We began our international expansion with Canada in 2010 and have since launched our service globally, with the exception of The People's Republic of China and territories where U.S. companies are not allowed to operate. We have also expanded our streaming content offering to include more exclusive and original programming, including several Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning original series and documentaries. Our original programming increasingly includes content that we produce.
The market for entertainment video is intensely competitive and subject to rapid change. We compete against other entertainment video providers, such as multichannel video programming distributors ("MVPDs"), internet-based content providers (including those that provide pirated content), video gaming providers and DVD retailers and more broadly against other sources of entertainment that our members could choose in their moments of free time. We also compete against entertainment video providers and content producers in obtaining content for our service, both for licensed streaming content and for original content projects.
While consumers may maintain simultaneous relationships with multiple entertainment sources, we strive for consumers to choose us in their moments of free time. We have often referred to this choice as our objective of "winning moments of truth." In attempting to win these moments of truth with our members, we are continually improving our service, including both our technology and our content, which is increasingly exclusive and curated, and includes our own original programming.
Our membership growth exhibits a seasonal pattern that reflects variations when consumers buy internet-connected screens and when they tend to increase their viewing. Historically, the first and fourth quarters (October through March) represent our greatest membership growth across our Domestic and International streaming segments. Increasingly, our membership growth is impacted by the release of certain high-profile original content. Internationally, we expect each market to demonstrate more predictable seasonal patterns as our service offering in each market becomes more established and we have a longer history to assess such patterns.
We regard our trademarks, service marks, copyrights, patents, domain names, trade dress, trade secrets, proprietary technologies and similar intellectual property as important to our success. We use a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements to protect our proprietary intellectual property. Our ability to protect and enforce our intellectual property rights is subject to certain risks and from time to time we encounter disputes over rights and obligations concerning intellectual property. We cannot provide assurance that we will prevail in any intellectual property disputes.
As of December 31, 2017, we had approximately 5,500 total employees. Of these employees, approximately 5,400 were full-time, including approximately 600 categorized as temporary.
Risks Related to Our Business
If our efforts to attract and retain members are not successful, our business will be adversely affected.
We have experienced significant membership growth over the past several years. Our ability to continue to attract members will depend in part on our ability to consistently provide our members with compelling content choices, as well as a quality experience for selecting and viewing TV shows and movies. Furthermore, the relative service levels, content offerings, pricing and related features of competitors to our service may adversely impact our ability to attract and retain memberships. Competitors include other entertainment video providers, such as MVPDs, internet-based movie and TV content providers (including those that provide pirated content) and DVD retailers. If consumers do not perceive our service offering to be of value, including if we introduce new or adjust existing features, adjust pricing or service offerings, or change the mix of content in a manner that is not favorably received by them, we may not be able to attract and retain members. In addition, many of our members rejoin our service or originate from word-of-mouth advertising from existing members. If our efforts to satisfy our existing members are not successful, we may not be able to attract members, and as a result, our ability to maintain and/or grow our business will be adversely affected. Members cancel our service for many reasons, including a perception that they do not use the service sufficiently, the need to cut household expenses, availability of content is unsatisfactory, competitive services provide a better value or experience and customer service issues are not satisfactorily resolved. We must continually add new memberships both to replace canceled memberships and to grow our business beyond our current membership base. If we do not grow as expected, given, in particular that our content costs are largely fixed in nature and contracted over several years, we may not be able to adjust our expenditures or increase our (per membership) revenues commensurate with the lowered growth rate such that our margins, liquidity and results of operation may be adversely impacted. If we are unable to successfully compete with current and new competitors in both retaining our existing memberships and attracting new memberships, our business will be adversely affected. Further, if excessive numbers of members cancel our service, we may be required to incur significantly higher marketing expenditures than we currently anticipate to replace these members with new members.
Changes in competitive offerings for entertainment video, including the potential rapid adoption of piracy-based video offerings, could adversely impact our business.
The market for entertainment video is intensely competitive and subject to rapid change. Through new and existing distribution channels, consumers have increasing options to access entertainment video. The various economic models underlying these channels include subscription, transactional, ad-supported and piracy-based models. All of these have the potential to capture meaningful segments of the entertainment video market. Piracy, in particular, threatens to damage our business, as its fundamental proposition to consumers is so compelling and difficult to compete against: virtually all content for free. Furthermore, in light of the compelling consumer proposition, piracy services are subject to rapid global growth. Traditional providers of entertainment video, including broadcasters and cable network operators, as well as internet based e-commerce or entertainment video providers are increasing their internet-based video offerings. Several of these competitors have long operating histories, large customer bases, strong brand recognition and significant financial, marketing and other resources. They may secure better terms from suppliers, adopt more aggressive pricing and devote more resources to product development, technology, infrastructure, content acquisitions and marketing. New entrants may enter the market or existing providers may adjust their services with unique offerings or approaches to providing entertainment video. Companies also may enter into business combinations or alliances that strengthen their competitive positions. If we are unable to successfully or profitably compete with current and new competitors, our business will be adversely affected, and we may not be able to increase or maintain market share, revenues or profitability.
We face risks, such as unforeseen costs and potential liability in connection with content we acquire, produce, license and/or distribute through our service.
As a producer and distributor of content, we face potential liability for negligence, copyright and trademark infringement, or other claims based on the nature and content of materials that we acquire, produce, license and/or distribute. We also may face potential liability for content used in promoting our service, including marketing materials. We are devoting more resources toward the development, production, marketing and distribution of original programming, including TV series and movies. We believe that original programming can help differentiate our service from other offerings, enhance our brand and otherwise attract and retain members. To the extent our original programming does not meet our expectations, in particular, in terms of costs, viewing and popularity, our business, including our brand and results of operations may be adversely impacted. As we expand our original programming, we have become responsible for production costs and other expenses, such as ongoing guild payments. We also take on risks associated with production, such as completion and key talent risk. Negotiations or renewals related to entertainment industry collective bargaining agreements could negatively impact timing and costs associated with our productions. To the extent we create and sell physical or digital merchandise relating to our original programming, and/or license such rights to third parties, we could become subject to product liability, intellectual property or other claims related to such merchandise. We may decide to remove content from our service, not to place licensed or produced content on our service or discontinue or alter production of original content if we believe such content might not be well received by our members or could be damaging to our brand.
To the extent we do not accurately anticipate costs or mitigate risks, including for content that we obtain but ultimately does not appear on or is removed from our service, or if we become liable for content we acquire, produce, license and/or distribute, our business may suffer. Litigation to defend these claims could be costly and the expenses and damages arising from any liability or unforeseen production risks could harm our results of operations. We may not be indemnified against claims or costs of these types and we may not have insurance coverage for these types of claims.
If studios, content providers or other rights holders refuse to license streaming content or other rights upon terms acceptable to us, our business could be adversely affected.
Our ability to provide our members with content they can watch depends on studios, content providers and other rights holders licensing rights to distribute such content and certain related elements thereof, such as the public performance of music contained within the content we distribute. The license periods and the terms and conditions of such licenses vary. If the studios, content providers and other rights holders are not or are no longer willing or able to license us content upon terms acceptable to us, our ability to stream content to our members will be adversely affected and/or our costs could increase. Certain licenses for content provide for the studios or other content providers to withdraw content from our service relatively quickly. Because of these provisions as well as other actions we may take, content available through our service can be withdrawn on short notice. As competition increases, we may see the cost of programming increase. As we seek to differentiate our service, we are increasingly focused on securing certain exclusive rights when obtaining content, including original content. We are also focused on programming an overall mix of content that delights our members in a cost efficient manner. Within this context, we are selective about the titles we add and renew to our service. If we do not maintain a compelling mix of content, our membership acquisition and retention may be adversely affected.
Music and certain authors' performances contained within content we distribute may require us to obtain licenses for such distribution. In this regard, we engage in negotiations with collection management organizations (“CMOs”) that hold certain rights to music and/or other interests in connection with streaming content into various territories. If we are unable to reach mutually acceptable terms with these organizations, we could become involved in litigation and/or could be enjoined from distributing certain content, which could adversely impact our business. Additionally, pending and ongoing litigation as well as negotiations between certain CMOs and other third parties in various territories could adversely impact our negotiations with CMOs, or result in music publishers represented by certain CMOs unilaterally withdrawing rights, and thereby adversely impact our ability to reach licensing agreements reasonably acceptable to us. Failure to reach such licensing agreements could expose us to potential liability for copyright infringement or otherwise increase our costs.
If we are not able to manage change and growth, our business could be adversely affected.
We are expanding our operations internationally, scaling our streaming service to effectively and reliably handle anticipated growth in both members and features related to our service, ramping up our ability to produce original content, as well as continuing to operate our DVD service within the U.S. As our international offering evolves, we are managing and adjusting our business to address varied content offerings, consumer customs and practices, in particular those dealing with e-commerce and internet video, as well as differing legal and regulatory environments. As we scale our streaming service, we are developing technology and utilizing third-party “cloud” computing services. As we ramp up our original content production, we are building out expertise in a number of disciplines, including creative, marketing, legal, finance, licensing, merchandising and other resources related to the development and physical production of content. If we are not able to manage the growing complexity of our business, including improving, refining or revising our systems and operational practices related to our streaming operations and original content, our business may be adversely affected.
We could be subject to economic, political, regulatory and other risks arising from our international operations.
Operating in international markets requires significant resources and management attention and will subject us to regulatory, economic and political risks that may be different from or incremental to those in the U.S. In addition to the risks that we face in the U.S., our international operations involve risks that could adversely affect our business, including:
• the need to adapt our content and user interfaces for specific cultural and language differences, including licensing a certain portion of our content assets before we have developed a full appreciation for its performance within a given territory;
• difficulties and costs associated with staffing and managing foreign operations;
• management distraction;
• political or social unrest and economic instability;
• compliance with U.S. laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, export controls and economic sanctions, and local laws prohibiting corrupt payments to government officials;
• difficulties in understanding and complying with local laws, regulations and customs in foreign jurisdictions;
• regulatory requirements or government action against our service, whether in response to enforcement of actual or purported legal and regulatory requirements or otherwise, that results in disruption or non-availability of our service or particular content in the applicable jurisdiction;
• less favorable foreign intellectual property laws;
• adverse tax consequences such as those related to changes in tax laws or tax rates or their interpretations, and the related application of judgment in determining our global provision for income taxes, deferred tax assets or liabilities or other tax liabilities given the ultimate tax determination is uncertain;
• fluctuations in currency exchange rates, which we do not use foreign exchange contracts or derivatives to hedge against and which could impact revenues and expenses of our international operations and expose us to foreign currency exchange rate risk;
• profit repatriation and other restrictions on the transfer of funds;
• differing payment processing systems as well as consumer use and acceptance of electronic payment methods, such as payment cards;
• new and different sources of competition;
• censorship requirements that cause us to remove or edit popular content, leading to consumer disappointment or dissatisfaction with our service;
• low usage and/or penetration of internet-connected consumer electronic devices;
• different and more stringent user protection, data protection, privacy and other laws, including data localization requirements;
• availability of reliable broadband connectivity and wide area networks in targeted areas for expansion;
• integration and operational challenges as well as potential unknown liabilities in connection with companies we may acquire or control; and
• differing, and often more lenient, laws and consumer understanding/attitudes regarding the illegality of piracy.
Our failure to manage any of these risks successfully could harm our international operations and our overall business, and results of our operations.