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Tougher times ahead for Netflix: analystsUS-NETFLIX-RESEARCH:Tougher times ahead for Netflix: analysts
(Reuters) - Netflix Inc will struggle to attract more customers in the United States as competition is expected to intensify in the next few months, analysts said.
Netflix said on Tuesday it added fewer-than-expected U.S. customers in the third quarter, forcing the company to cut its full-year subscriber forecast.
Shares of the online video streaming company tumbled 16 percent to $57.40 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
"The lower numbers should lead investors to question the total addressable market, especially as this slowdown is in an ideal environment lacking material competition that will likely soon emerge," said Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible.
"Every subsequent quarter has the potential to intensify the competitive risks," said Wible, who cut his price target on the stock by $5 to $48.
Other analysts cut their price targets by around $5 to between $48 and $65. BMO Capital Markets slashed $22 off its target to bring it in line with the top of that range.
Wible pointed to a possible new product from Apple, and the expected fourth-quarter launch of video services by Verizon Communications and Coinstar.
In a note titled 'No catalyst/No cure,' Stifel Nicolaus analyst George Askew said Netflix's business model was broken as the streaming business lacks barriers to entry and has no subsidy.
"Aggressive companies like Amazon, Verizon and Comcast have set their competitive sights on the online streaming business and have other revenue sources to subsidize it," Askew said.
"We believe fiscal year 2013 will be another eventful and probably frustrating year for Netflix."
Analysts also said the company's profitability will be hurt as it expands aggressively in international markets.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)
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