February 1, 2013

Netflix Reloaded

While growing into a multi-billion dollar revenue company, Netflix's share price has been on a roller coaster ride. From $17.94 in 2008 to $298 in 2010, then back to $53 last September back to $164 today.

The path to 33 million subscribers has not been straight, remember Qwikster, but Netflix is a good example of when the share price and company operations don't walk to the same tune every day.

Netflix is also an example of the short-term financial cost of disrupting oneself. Netflix is doing a great job of reinventing itself as international streaming service instead of being a US DVD-by-mail service. But the company's gross margin and thus profit for streaming is significantly lower than for DVD rentals on a subscriber basis. If there's a lesson there, it might be that in the real world disruption is a painful thing.

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