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Netflix said is making several of its signature film and television-format titles available to stream for free without a subscription to the service.
(ticker: NFLX) said that it was going to let nonsubscribers watch titles such as Stranger Things, Bird Box, and The Two Popes, among other content. People will be able to see entire films, but only the first episode of the shows.
The move is a sign that there is a growing amount of competitive pressure for the streaming company. Yet it also indicates that the company is in a position of strength and can afford to hand out some of its content for free.
Investors had a muted response. Netflix stock retreated 0.5% to $521.49 in Monday afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 was marginally higher.
Growth in Netflix’s subscriber base has been boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic, though the speed of the increase has slowed.
The company had roughly 193 million subscribers as of the end of June, even as competition increases from rivals such as
(CMCSA) launched a free ad-supported tier of its Peacock app this summer.
Wall Street largely has a positive view of the stock, with 27 sell-side analysts rating it a Buy. Nine analysts have a Hold on the name, and six rate it at Sell. The consensus forecast for the stock price is $507.39, about 2.8% below the price in midday trading on Monday.
Wall Street expects third-quarter earnings of $2.11 a share from sales of $6.37 billion.
Netflix stock has gained 61% this year, while the
index is up 8.5%. The
index has advanced 31% in 2020.
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