A Closer Look at Netflix’s First Quarter of 2024

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Despite achieving record-breaking earnings in the first quarter of 2024, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) experienced a paradoxical downturn in stock performance. This analysis explores the intricacies behind the figures and what they potentially signal about the company’s future.

Stock Price Dynamics
Historically, Netflix’s stock has demonstrated resilience, rebounding from significant drops as noted in fiscal year 2022. Yet, the recent lack of momentum to surpass previous highs could raise concerns among technical investors. This stagnation may suggest a deeper market skepticism about the sustainability of Netflix’s growth, especially given the generous price-earnings ratio that the stock currently commands.

Earnings Overview
While Netflix’s earnings suggest robust health, the underlying metrics such as revenue growth, cash flow, and free cash flow tell a more nuanced story. These figures, not aligning with the earnings growth, hint at potential over-optimism in management’s assumptions, which while permissible under GAAP, may not be sustainable.

Growth Versus Valuation
The fundamental tension lies in the relationship between the company’s growth and its valuation. High price-earnings ratios necessitate substantial growth rates, which Netflix’s management has not forecasted to sustain. The long-term viability of maintaining high-profit margins is questionable, especially as the company matures.

Market Position and Competitive Landscape
Despite a dominant position in streaming, Netflix does not have the benefit of franchises like its competitors Disney (DIS) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which can buffer against unsuccessful programming investments. This lack of proprietary franchises places a higher risk on Netflix’s need to consistently produce successful content from scratch.

Financial Health and Strategic Movements
The balance sheet reveals a concerning picture with $30 billion in content assets whose recovery, based on current free cash flow levels, is slower than desirable. Moreover, Netflix’s strategy of acquisitions to bolster content offerings has yet to yield the expected free cash flow improvement, suggesting a potential misalignment between investment and returns.

Valuation Considerations
A conservative approach to Netflix’s valuation would heed the management’s guidance for 13% revenue growth. However, with cash flow not commensurately following revenue, a reevaluation based on cash flow yield and growth is prudent. If the current trend continues, a significant adjustment in the price-earnings ratio may be necessary.

The dissonance between Netflix’s impressive earnings and its stock performance underscores a broader market apprehension about the company’s future growth trajectory and profitability. For investors, the current valuation may be overly optimistic, suggesting a cautious approach or potential divestment for those seeking sustainable growth investments. Netflix appears to be transitioning from a high-growth darling to a more mature, yet volatile market player, necessitating a recalibrated investment perspective.


by Steve Macalbry

Senior Editor,


Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be considered financial or investment advice. We do not hold any form of equity in the securities mentioned in this article. Always consult with a certified financial professional before making any financial decisions. Growth stocks carry a high degree of risk, and you could lose your entire investment.



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