The Beginner’s Guide to Investing

Netflix vs AT&T: Here's which stock would have made you richer if you invested $1,000 10 years ago

Reed Hastings attends Reed Hastings panel during Netflix 'See What's Next' event at Villa Miani on April 18, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
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Streaming giant Netflix has long proven to be an extremely successful company, landing a spot on Forbes' list of the world's most valuable brands in 2019. Media conglomerate AT&T has its own streaming services and secured a place on the same list, but its stock hasn't seen quite the same success.

Investing $1,000 in Netflix 10 years ago would have made you significantly richer today than had you put the same amount into AT&T.

According to CNBC calculations, if you put $1,000 in the streaming video service on July 23, 2009, it would be worth more than $48,000 as of July 23, 2019, for a total return of over 4,700%. If you put $1,000 in AT&T over the same period, your investment would be worth about $2,200, a total return of around 125%. During the same time, the S&P 500 returned 284%.

The difference between the two investments is about $45,800.

While Netflix would have made you more money over the last 10 years, any individual stock can over- or underperform and past returns do not predict future results.

CNBC: Netflix stock as of July 22, 2019

Netflix shares fell more than 10% last week (although, the stock is still up more than 20% so far this year) and the company reported a loss in U.S. paid subscribers for the first time since 2011. Netflix's market cap dropped more than $10 billion after the report. Some experts are nervous about how the streaming giant's stock will perform moving forward, especially as it loses popular series "The Office" and "Friends."

AT&T reported a surprise increase in wireless customers in April and announced a new streaming service through WarnerMedia called HBO Max, which will include content from Cartoon Network, HBO, TNT, TBS, truTV, Warner Bros. and more.

The company on Wednesday posted second-quarter earnings that met analyst expectations and announced it added a net 72,000 phone subscribers. AT&T, however, reported a drop in pay-TV subscribers.

CNBC: AT&T stock as of July 22, 2019

Despite seeing a dip in its stock performance and facing increasing competition from new streaming services, including Disney+, Netflix has a lot to be hopeful about, some experts say. In particular, the streaming giant predicts strong viewership of some of its popular trademark shows, including "Stranger Things" and "Orange is the New Black."

As Netflix introduces new content and grows its subscriber base, "we continue to believe shares will significantly outperform," according to analysis from investment bank Goldman Sachs.

On a recent episode of CNBC's "Earnings Central," analysts even suggested that the loss of "The Office" and "Friends" could actually free up income for new content ventures.

If you're looking to get into investing, seasoned investors like Warren Buffett suggest you start with index funds which hold every stock in an index, meaning they're automatically diversified and tend to be low cost. Plus, because they fluctuate with the market, they're typically less risky than picking individual stocks.

Here's a snapshot of how the markets look now.

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Investing in these stocks would have made you rich by now—here are other ways to invest your money
Reed Hastings attends Reed Hastings panel during Netflix 'See What's Next' event at Villa Miani on April 18, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
Getty Images
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