Can Netflix Survive After Earnings?

Despite the Dow (NYSE:DIA) jumping more than 100 points higher, shares of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) traded relatively flat. The company announced it will begin selling subscriptions in the U.K. and Ireland in 2012, thus directly competing with Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) LoveFilm streaming video service.  Netflix said that users in the two countries will be able to watch streaming movies and television beginning early next year. Details on pricing have yet to be disclosed, nor has Netflix commented on whether it will also introduce its subscription mail-order DVD service.

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There still remains much uncertainty with Netflix.  The company has angered consumers over the past few months as the company raised prices on subscription plans, and flip-flopped on a spinoff named Qwikster.  Netflix has also received increased competition from Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH).  Dish recently teamed up Blockbuster in order to provide more content, and lure dissatisfied customers away from Netflix.  To add insult to injury, speculation is now growing on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) future regarding television.  Walter Isaacson’s bio of Steve Jobs quoted the Apple mastermind saying, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use.  It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud.  It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.  I finally cracked it.”

Investors should keep an eye on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) after the close, when the company reports its third quarter results.  Analysts are expecting about $1.05 earnings per share.  The last time Netflix missed estimates was the third quarter of last year. Will history repeat itself?  If Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) earnings come in-line or better, shares may pair back some losses seen in recent weeks.  However, with increased competition and speculation, if earnings miss, the slide in Netflix shares could sharpen dramatically.

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