The past few months have challenging for Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) investors, but if recent signs are any indication, it appears that the electric car maker might show some recovery in the stock market soon. According to an advisory firm founder, Tesla stock has all but reached a point that is incredibly similar to that of Netflix back in 2011, right before it experienced an eight-year stretch of growth that propelled the company to its current place at the top of the on-demand streaming market.
Tesla currently trades at or near the $180 level, which corresponds to roughly half of the company’s peak of $385 last year. While this might feel alarming, it should be noted that Netflix’s investors experienced something far more harrowing back in 2011, when the company’s shares saw a full 80% stock decline. After a price increase and CEO Reed Hastings’ announcement that Netflix will be separating its streaming and DVD-by-mail business, the company saw a loss of 800,000 subscribers in a single quarter. That was a time when the company only had 24 million subscribers as well.
At the core of Netflix’s decision then was its sincere belief that online streaming services are the future of on-demand entertainment. They also believed in their pricing power. Eddie Yoon, a think tank and advisory firm founder, noted that Netflix’s high-stakes bets paid off. Since that 80% decline back in 2011, the company has increased its user base to 60 million in the US and 150 million worldwide. Netflix stock had also increased 39 times than its low point back in 2011.
Tesla is in a similar boat. Just like Netflix in 2011, the electric car maker is dealing with the fallout of a quarter that rendered lower-than-expected numbers, which, together with several factors, has caused the company to post a loss after two profitable quarters. Nevertheless, Tesla is making a big bet on its belief that the demand for electric vehicles will grow exponentially over the next few years. So far, the company seems to be right on the money in this sense, as EV sales across the globe are increasing. In 2018 alone, electric car sales accounted for 2% of total new vehicles sold in the US. A study by AAA also noted that 20% of Americans want to own an electric car.
Yoon notes that if there is anything that Tesla could learn from Netflix, it would be to improve its communication. During Netflix’s steep drop in 2011, the company performed subpar when it came to communicating with its user base. This was true during times when Netflix would change its pricing, or if it would change aspects of its business. Tesla is quite around the same boat. Its pricing power is strong, and contrary to Bernstein’s recent note, Tesla’s brand holds a lot of value for an increasing number of customers. Despite this, the electric car maker still has notable areas of improvement when it comes to communication, partly evidenced by the misinformation surrounding the company today. If Tesla can refine this, then the company’s potential recovery would likely be smoother than expected.
The recent comparisons of Tesla to Netflix in 2011 appear to have been triggered by rumors that an investor who took a particular interest in the streaming giant at its lowest point. These rumors were recently related by Will Meade, a former PM at Goldman Sachs and a former editor at Forbes. “Rumor swirling that a big activist has taken a stake in Tesla $TSLA and he/she said it reminds them of $NFLX in 2011. Explains the almost $3 million of $TSLA Aug $250 calls swept right at the open. Could it be Icahn!” he wrote, referring to billionaire investor Carl Celian Icahn.
As of writing, Tesla stock is trading at 5.20% at $188.42 per share.