Netflix: Will Reed Hastings Forgive Wall Street?

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by Jon Friedman
April 18, 2013 1:55 PM
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Don't blame me! I was young and foolish. Wall Street misled me. Yes, that's it! It was all their fault, those anti-Occupy villains. Anyway, I have seen the light.

Blame Wall Street. They're the ones who led me astray all along about Netflix.

I know, I know. I am the one who has written headlines like Netflix Is Dead to Me, I Won't Eat the Kool-Aid and yada yada. But I plead recklessness caused by Wall Street's pessimism.

The top-performing stock in the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the first quarter of this year was Netflix. At one point, it jumped 104% and marched toward $200, a distant memory from its 52-week low of $53.

Wall Street has recanted its gloomy projections about Netflix's foreign expansion prospects and its ability to retain customer loyalty. At one point, stock-pickers fretted that Time Warner and other media behemoths would be able to offer cable subscription services that would cause severe damage to Netflix. Guess not.

Netflix shows how a company can turn around its fortunes simply by keeping its eye on its strategy and shutting out the naysayers (like me, and the rest of the media). It must have been tough for Netflix brass to deal with the constant noise. BUt that's a valuable lesson as well. Tell the skeptics to shut up. Or better still, just shut them out.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings didn't help his image in July 2011 when he announced a price increase during a recession in the U.S. Hastings seemed callous and was accused of being arrogant and insensitive. It looks like Wall Street has gotten over it.

Now, Hastings will deliver many of his corporate proclamations on social-media sites, underscoring his new-found hip image. How hip? Listen, when your company is leading the S&P 500, you are sprinkling gold dust all over Wall Street.


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