Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Streaming Video and the Future

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OK, so one of my least favorite companies, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), announced recently that it has reached an exclusive deal with CBS to be the exclusive streaming video provider for the new series “Under the Dome.” Good for Amazon, I guess. But I’m still not impressed.

There’s a LOT happening in the streaming space right now and I get that Amazon is trying to stay in front of it. But news like this shouldn’t be enough to move Amazon off the warning lists. So the company’s Amazon Prime will have an exclusive on 13 episodes of a mini-series based on a Stephen King book. Again, so what?

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)Streaming is going to be huge. It’ll be the final death of video rental stores and it may end up being the death of most movie theater chains. But it’s not there yet and there are still obstacles to overcome before it does happen. Still, my job in writing these columns is to peer into the future (darkly) and see what’s coming so that you can think about it and make your investment choices wisely. So here’s some thoughts on the streaming revolution.

Amazon

Look, I’m already on record as thinking that Amazon is way overpriced. I get it, it’s cool, it’s sexy and so forth. But for heaven’s sake, what has it done to justify its share value and market cap? It’s practically 20 years into its existence! Why should it have a P/E in the thousands?

Amazon is one of the stocks I called out recently as not being a tech stock for adult and rational investors. I think the business model that it’s founded upon is very vulnerable to challenge from a well-financed late entrant. Perhaps someone like Rakuten can make that challenge happen.

No dividend, no long-term history of profitability and an easy-to-enter market makes Amazon vulnerable, no matter how they try to pump up the share price with headline-grabbing announcements.

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)

Want to see a big spike in share value? Take a look at Netflix over the last month. No guarantees that it’ll happen again, mind you. But it’s still worth a look.

Netflix started out a long time ago mailing discs to people. Now they still mail discs but the streaming world is taking them new places. God knows my kids love it. Still, the company faces significant content challenges and will have to be aggressive in partnering with a series of content providers.

Don’t be fooled by the sudden spike — that’s irrational exuberance speaking. No one knows where it’s going to end up a year from now. Netflix is for risky money and kids that like watching Japanese cartoons. The P/E isn’t as extreme as Amazon’s was, but it still shows people are buying on expectation and not on performance.

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