Netflix's overseas growth won't be stopped by absence of Disney movies: Bernstein

Key Points
  • Bernstein says Netflix will be able overcome Disney pulling its movie content because of international growth.
  • The firm reiterates its overweight rating on the streaming company's shares and its $203 price target.
Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings
Joan Cros Garcia | Corbis | Getty Images

Bernstein is downplaying the significance of the recent announcement that Disney intends to pull its movies from Netflix.

The firm reiterated its overweight rating on the video streaming company's shares, predicting Netflix's international growth will continue to surge. Disney's movies are shown on Netflix in the U.S. and Canada but only in two other countries, Bernstein notes.

"Almost all of Netflix's future growth will come from international … Investors who were already skeptical (or bullish) on int'l growth will remain so – but Disney's U.S. non-renewal should have no effect on that view," analyst Todd Juenger wrote in a note to clients Wednesday. "In the U.S., recent news flow has, if anything, made us more bullish."

Juenger reaffirmed his $203 price target for Netflix shares, which is 20 percent higher than Tuesday's closing price.

The analyst said Starz' subscriber growth was not affected after the cable network lost its Disney content.

"We believe gaining on-going and future relationships for exclusive content from star creators such as Rhimes/Letterman/Lorre/Kohan, while losing a handful of Disney movies, is a net positive," he wrote.

As a result, he estimates Netflix's international subscriber base will grow to 220 million by 2030 from 52 million last quarter.

"The only plausible reason this topic has caused such a commotion for NFLX stock (other than a poor understanding of the facts) is the theory that this is just the start of a huge wave of Hollywood studios pulling their content," he wrote. "We don't think they will (Disney isn't, other than a portion movie output), and we don't think it would matter much if they did. It's too late."