After Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter reiterated his “sell” rating of Netflix on Wednesday, Jim Cramer was glad that he at least acknowledged how wrong he has been on the stock.
“But I’m also dismayed that he’s sticking by his methodology, the same methodology that caused him and his acolytes to miss almost 100 [basis] points in a stock that, to me, is as obvious as the purloined letter,” the “Mad Money” host said. “He proudly writes: “We have consistently valued stocks under our coverage based upon the discounted present value of their future cash flows.’ Goodie. That bit of ideology reminds me of that quote everybody attributes to Albert Einstein about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”
The analyst justified this using traditional metrics like discounted future cash flows, or how much the money Netflix is set to make in the future is worth now.
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But Cramer argued that Netflix, as a company, should not be valued in the same way as others. The streaming giant trades on content metrics and subscriber growth, two very specific and difficult-to-calculate pieces of data.
“You see, at a certain point, the prism you’re using is just wrong, and you’ve got to to scramble. You have to adapt. You’ve got to find a new one,” Cramer said. “I don’t mean to pick on Pachter, although I think ‘Pick on Pachter’ would be a great name for a sit-com, but periodically, there are stocks that defy the traditional metrics and you’ve just got to scrap those metrics if you want to understand the stock.”
In his analysis, Pachter writes that an increase in show cancellations and poor execution of expensive originals could pose threats to Netflix’s hefty $6 billion content budget for 2017.
While cancellations could set Netflix back, especially since its budget far outpaces what its competitors plan to spend this year, Cramer said that more content naturally results in more cancellations.
“Given all the original content Netflix puts out, the failures are somewhat inevitable, and if anything, they’ll have to increase. That’s the law of large content,” Cramer said. “Still, the record is darned good, much better than everyone else, and that matters, especially when worldwide numbers are at stake and some content plays extraordinarily well overseas.”
“Knowing the right metric has always been the key to picking good stocks,” Cramer said. “Wedbush has clearly picked the wrong metric. And sometimes, that’s all that matters.”
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