×

Chanos looking at possible bet against Netflix, others in content space

  • Hedge fund manager Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates told CNBC that he is looking at a possible beat against Netflix and other entertainment content providers.
  • The famed short seller noted rising costs for streaming companies and speculated that Netflix's recent price increase could be a product of that.
  • Some of Chanos' more notable shorts have been against Tesla specifically and China in general.

Famed short seller Jim Chanos is putting Netflix and other entertainment content providers in his crosshairs.

Though he hasn't established a formal position yet, the head of Kynikos Associates sees opportunity as the competition heats up and cost starts becoming an issue.

"We're looking at all of them, let's just say that, but one or two more than the others," Chanos told CNBC's "Closing Bell" in an interview Thursday.

Netflix's shares in particular have been on fire all year, rising some 53 percent including a 1 percent gain as Chanos gave his remarks from the sidelines of a conference in New York.

However, the hedge fund manager sees the landscape shifting. The Federal Communications Commission's move to eliminate net neutrality rules that seek to provide equal access to online content is one particular wild card.

"Netflix came out this afternoon and sort of lambasted the change of net neutrality," he said. "Yet for years now they have said when asked that the change in net neutrality would not have a material effect on their business. Which is it?"

Netflix is coming off a strong quarter in which it added a better-than-expected 5.3 million subscribers and said it would have a content budget of between $7 billion and $8 billion a year. The company also announced a pricing plan increase.

"Netflix raised prices recently and analysts of course just assume most of that falls to the bottom line. But what if these price hikes really are to offset increasing costs?" Chanos said. "I don't think people have put that in their models."

"The fact of the matter is Netflix is a middleman. They are making and producing and financing more of their own content, but at the end of the day so is everyone else now."

Chanos is known for other high-profile bearish positions, particularly against electric car maker Tesla.

He also has said he is betting against hamburger chain restaurants as the industry condenses, and in September announced a short against Continental Resources.