Wall Street’s Best Bet of the Decade: Netflix Stock Has Jumped Nearly 30,000% Since 2010

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Streaming giant’s stock price has skyrocketed as it’s added more than 140 million subscribers

Stranger Things

If you put some of your savings into Netflix stock at the beginning of the decade, congratulations. The streaming heavyweight has been the top-performing member of the S&P 500 since early 2010. (Netflix replaced The New York Times as a member of the S&P 500 in late 2010.) Buying 10 shares of Netflix stock at the beginning of 2010 would’ve cost you about $77 altogether. Those 10 shares would’ve become 70 shares after a 7-to-1 stock split in 2015. If you held onto those shares up through Friday, with Netflix closing at about $329.09 per share, your initial $77 investment would be worth about $23,000 — or a 29,800% increase on your initial investment. That’s obviously a major leap for Netflix — one that even its most passionate investors in 2010 couldn’t have predicted. That was at a time when cable and satellite TV were growing and years before the debut of “House of Cards,” the streamer’s first original show. Netflix had about 12 million customers at the time, paying $9 per month to receive DVDs in the mail. Now the pay TV industry is hemorrhaging subscribers and Netflix has become nearly ubiquitous, especially in the U.S., where it has about 60 million active accounts; overall Netflix now has nearly 160 million customers around the world. The company, run by CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, now has many more trademark shows under its umbrella — including “Queer Eye,” “The Crown” and “Stranger Things” (pictured above) — and charges customers up to $15.99 per month to stream in the U.S. While Netflix has spearheaded the streaming revolution and spawned a number of major Hollywood players, including Disney, to belatedly follow in its footsteps in the streaming space, the company still has plenty of cynics on Wall Street. The company carries $24.1 billion in long-term debt and is spending big bucks to keep the hits coming, with a content budget of about $15 billion in 2019; that combo has some analysts wary the good times will continue to roll on for Netflix. And with new competitors like Disney+ and soon-to-arrive services from NBCU and WarnerMedia, Netflix will have plenty of work cut out for it. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that if you invested in Netflix earlier this decade and held on for the ride, it paid off in a big way.