Disney, Roku Drop as Netflix Stuns With Falling Customers

By BLOOMBERG

Streaming stocks were rocked late Tuesday after Netflix Inc. reported its first customer decline in more than a decade, stoking investors’ fears that a reopening economy will cripple these companies.

Roku Inc. dropped as much as 8.3% in extended trading, Walt Disney Co. fell 5.3% and fuboTV declined 5.4%, while Netflix plunged 26%. The company’s forecast of a loss of two million subscribers in the current quarter is likely to prompt analysts to rethink their forecasts for the entire industry. Other media companies like Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Paramount Global and Spotify Technology SA also tumbled.

While Netflix will hurt all of tech and probably the market the headwinds are specific to the company and streaming industry, Vital Knowledge’s Adam Crisafulli said in a note. Netflix saw a tailwind from the pandemic but that’s now reversing  as competition heightens.

Companies like Disney, which has three large streaming businesses with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, have seen the shares move along with subscriber sign-ups and changes in long-range forecasts. Now the industry leader is suggesting a plateau of subscribers may be at hand, particularly in the U.S. market, where Netflix reported its largest subscriber drop in the first quarter.

Netflix shares have struggled in 2022, falling 42% as of their Tuesday close. The losses far outpace the roughly 13% decline in the Nasdaq 100 Index. Among components of the tech-heavy index, Netflix is the third-worst performer this year.

Much of its rout this year has stemmed from its previous quarterly report released in January, where it gave a disappointing outlook for subscribers, sparking a drop of more than 20%.

Should Netflix end Wednesday’s session lower, that would mark a fifth straight quarterly report that led to a negative reaction in the stock, the longest such streak on record, according to Bloomberg data that goes back to 2011.