Does Netflix Have a Bright Future?

With shares of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) trading around $335, is NFLX an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Netflix is an Internet subscription service that streams television shows and movies. The company’s subscribers can watch unlimited television shows and movies streamed over the Internet to their televisions, computers, and mobile devices. In the United States, subscribers can also receive DVDs delivered to their homes. Netflix has revolutionized the television and movie industry with its services.

Netflix is no stranger to the battle for net neutrality, the philosophy that all Internet data should be treated equally. The streaming service put out a blog post in March about why it supports the concept (besides savings for the company.) Netflix even recently went to the Federal Communications Commission about net neutrality after paying Verizon (NYSE:V) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) to maintain its service. Net neutrality in the United States may not be dead, but it is certainly on life support. A court ruling earlier this year decided that it is not a violation to charge for higher speeds and greater data usage. In the United States, the Internet has traditionally been available for one access rate — it didn’t matter if the user used the Internet to check his or her email once a month or if he or she used the Internet for more than 12 hours a day.

Either way, the user would pay the same fee. The FCC’s Open Internet rules helped sustain this system. Then, a federal appeals court struck down several provisions of these Open Internet policies, opening the door to an Internet service cost structure similar to cell phone data. Some services have even begun to advertise for this fast lane of the Internet. Companies on the side of this new policy are service providers like Verizon and Comcast. Netflix, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) are among the companies trying to prevent net neutrality from becoming obsolete. These technology firms deal with large amounts of data, making the loss of net neutrality expensive for them in addition to their customers. While Netflix has been a particularly vocal advocate for net neutrality, Google has been an ally in this fight through its Internet Association, which put out a statement regarding net neutrality in late April.