Disney announced Tuesday it intends to remove its movies from Netflix and launch a branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019.
Netflix shares fell in the post-market session following the news and opened down 3.9 percent on Wednesday.
“Disney’s decision to end its distribution deal with Netflix (beginning in 2019) supports our long-held view that content owners will increasingly look to retain content for owned platforms,” Jefferies analyst John Janedis wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “What is unclear is whether or not the largely staggered impact will affect NFLX’s growth in net adds. NFLX’s content investment likely assumed some non-renewals.”
Janedis reiterated his hold rating and his $165 price target for Netflix shares, representing 7.5 percent downside to Tuesday’s close.
One analyst is also concerned Netflix may lose television content from Disney, which owns ABC and Marvel, in the future.
“Questions remain, namely … any future loss of ABC and/or Marvel originals production,” SunTrust analyst Matthew Thornton wrote Wednesday. “Beyond NFLX loss of some DIS content, DIS’s announcement obviously indicates incremental DTC [direct to consumer] streaming competition, particularly for kids audience, beginning 2H19 in the U.S. and Int’l thereafter.”
To be sure, others on Wall Street defended the company and said the Disney move will not have a large effect on Netflix’s growth momentum.
“While this will be a negative headline for Netflix, we expect the actual impact on the subscriber base to be minimal,” Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson wrote Wednesday. “There is no question Disney content was a ‘nice to have,’ but we believe Netflix can find ways to re-allocate … to create similarly engaging (and more exclusive) content for its subscriber base.”
Olson estimated Disney content represents only 3 percent of Netflix’s annual content costs. He reiterated his overweight rating for Netflix shares and his $215 price target.
“Netflix may be losing content from its most important supplier in Disney, but its strategy to pivot to originals, build its own global content brand, and vertically integrate into self production mitigate this loss,” Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne wrote Wednesday.
The streaming company is one of the market’s best-performing names. Its shares have rallied 44.1 percent this year through Tuesday versus the S&P 500’s 10.6 percent return.
Netflix did not immediately return a request for comment.
— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.
Netflix drops on fears others will follow Disney’s lead by pulling content and starting competitor