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Netflix’s 2021 Subscriber Growth will ‘Slow Substantially,’ Analyst Predicts

(Image credit: Netflix)

While the changing viewing patterns of the pandemic certainly has had some sway, Netflix has outperformed this year the bearish predictions of media-tech stock market analysts, who predicted the top subscription streaming service would take a hit from a flurry of new “streaming wars” competition. 

Watching Netflix’s stock grow by 70% this year, most analysts these days temper their forecasts for the SVOD service, aware of the FAANG company’s ability to defy market gravity, finding ways to keep on growing. 

Then there’s Rosenblatt Securities analyst Bernie McTernan, who told CNN that he expects Netflix will be in for a rough ride in 2021. 

"We think that in 2021, subscriber growth is going to be slowing substantially,” he said. "We think that the outlook for '21 will be more challenging for Netflix.”

Specifically, McTernan cited the impact of a rumored Netflix price hike as a major factor in cooling consumer sentiment toward the service. 

"We did a streaming video survey, and a substantial amount of respondents indicated that they would cancel Netflix or reduce the number of months that they subscribed to Netflix given a one or two dollar price increase," he said.

The entry of Disney Plus, HBO Max and Peacock into the streaming market hasn’t had a material impact on Netflix’s subscriber growth in 2020. But McTernan believes that could change next year, with those newer services finding their footing. 

He called Disney’s just announced reorganization and focus around video streaming “really interesting,” noting, “Netflix just hasn't faced this kind of global competition before. The easy days of no competition are over for it.”

For those following Netflix’s Nasdaq fortunes, the company’s market capitalization stands at $237.1 billion, roughly twice of what it was a year ago. 

The streaming company is set to report its third quarter earnings when the market closes on Tuesday.