RBC: Netflix stock could double in the next 3 years

Reed Hastings
CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Netflix stock could double to $200 over the next three years, according to Mark Mahaney, the lead internet analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

“Amongst the FANG [Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google] names, this is the one that’s most underperformed,” he told CNBC on Thursday.

Why is Mahaney so bullish on Netflix?

The increase in stock price would roughly correlate to subscriber growth, Mahaney explained. “We think it’s going to double to be 150 to 160 million [global] subscribers in a couple of years.”

Wall Street has been split on Netflix. Much of the controversy revolves around subscriber growth, both in the US and internationally. Netflix missed badly on Wall Street expectations for Q2, but boosters like RBC argue that this is a hiccup, and that Netflix’s potential is still intact.

The future of TV is Netflix

Mahaney says TV is going to evolve dramatically over the next decade. He told CNBC that he thinks the big bundle of channels, a staple of cable and satellite, will move toward a series of “mini-bundles” that people will buy for lower prices. Think a handful of Netflix-like $9.99 services instead of a $100-plus cable package.

“I think one of those five mini-bundles in the future will be Netflix,” he said. That’s a recipe for big subscriber growth.

And beyond subscriber numbers, RBC also thinks Netflix’s international profitability is coming along nicely. Earlier this month, RBC analysts pointed out something they thought many investors were missing about Netflix: Its international ramp-up was, in profitability, looking similar to Netflix’s rise in the US in 2012 and 2013.

Not everyone agrees

Other analysts are less sure about Netflix’s international future. Macquarie hit Netflix with a “sell” rating earlier this month.

“We believe success will require partnering with local content providers and/or investing in more local content, or in content that will travel,” the analysts wrote. “This will be expensive — indeed, Netflix’s total content obligations have ballooned to $16-18 billion including ‘unknown’ off-balance sheet commitments, and could well rise further.”

Macquarie still thinks Netflix will be a success, but that it might be even more expensive than anticipated.

Mahaney, meanwhile, thinks Netflix can “generate $10 in earnings [per share], GAAP earnings, by 2020.” In 2015, Netflix generated $0.28 EPS.

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