Netflix and Peloton have both had their share prices wrecked by traders this year. Netflix has not been able to add subscribers at the rapid pace that has characterized its business in the past. Peloton has many customers or potential customers who don’t want its products. Netflix has set out to steal what is left of the Peloton subscriber base, even if that base is being chopped down by attrition.
The desperate CEO and founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, says he plans to increase demand for his fitness subscriber base via a deal with Nike. Netflix announced, “Just before the new year, Netflix members will be able to stream fitness content from Nike Training Club for the first time ever.” The critical difference between the two is that Nike does not sell a bike. Its program has exercise and diet components, but people have to do them based on some motions that do not involve cycling. (This may save Peloton from being completely ruined by the Netflix program.)
Among the advantages Netflix has is its subscriber base of over 200 million people. The number of people who subscribe to the Peloton fitness video program sits below three million.
Netflix’s business has been broken because of competition from streaming rivals Amazon, HBO Max, Disney+, and a small army of additional competitors. Research shows that people have, on average, about three paid video streaming subscriptions. Netflix had little competition five years ago. Those days are over. This trouble has driven Netflix’s shares down by 66% this year. There is little hope that its subscription base will grow rapidly again.
The Peloton problem is devastating. The demand for its equipment and subscribers rose rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. People who wanted to exercise could no longer go to the gym. That has changed. Peloton lost $408 million in the most recent quarter. Investors have questioned its ability to survive. Its stock is off 74% this year.
For Peloton to survive, it has to pick up market share in the high-end exercise market. With competition like Netflix, that won’t happen.
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