For years, short-sellers have crawled all over Netflix, convinced the company’s shares were overvalued versus its expected growth path.
And for years, they closed their short positions and went home with plenty of pain and no profits. That they would eventually be proved right in some measure certainly seemed plausible.
But few would have believed that the stock would lose more than half its value in a few months due to a self-inflicted wound.
For years, consumers have flocked to Netflix because it was a well-run service that was good to its customers, standing in stark contrast to the cable providers with which it competes.
Only this summer, its position seemed unassailable as analysts predicted its ranks of subscribers would swell beyond 40 million. And then the decision to raise prices. And then the failure to reach a deal with Starz. And then the decision to split the service.
Netflix may well survive this period and go on to dominate, and it is likely the company will sign up some new content partners in the near future.
But, it looks a good deal more vulnerable than it did only a few months ago. Jeff Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner , must be throwing a party.
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