Needham downgraded Netflix on Tuesday with the analyst Laura Martin predicting the company may lose as many as 4 million U.S. subscribers next year in its premium tier. Martin moved her rating to underperform (equivalent of a sell) from hold and added she was concerned the company's balance sheet can't "withstand lower revenue." Netflix has come under increased pressure as the streaming wars heat up with the recent launches of Disney + and Apple TV+. Shares of the company were down 1.6% to $297.50 in early trading. As of the end of the third quarter, the company said it had just over 60 million U.S. subscribers. "We downgrade NFLX because it has consistently stated it will not have advertising, which we believe will result in U.S. sub losses," wrote Martin, who is one of the widely followed analysts in the space. Martin's picks have returned 21% one year out, putting her among the best on Wall Street, according to TipRanks . Her calls have a success rate of 66%, according to TipRanks. Martin said Netflix may need to add new kinds of subscriptions to battle the quickly developing competition if it continues to resist putting advertising on the system. "We believe NFLX must add a second, lower priced, service to compete with Disney+, Apple+, Hulu, CBS All Access and Peacock, each of which have $5-$7/month choices," she said. Peacock is NBCUniversal's planned streaming service. Martin calculates that advertising would add about $6 a month in revenue per U.S. subscriber if the company went that route, allowing the streamer to add lower-cost subscriptions. Wells Fargo also downgraded the stock last week to underperform on concerns the company will have to spend more money to acquire new subscribers. Needham's Martin shares that concern and believes the company doesn't have the same pricing power of competitors like Disney. Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
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Needham downgraded Netflix on Tuesday with the analyst Laura Martin predicting the company may lose as many