Netflix’s Investors Like Its Chances Against the Pricey HBO Max

(Bloomberg) -- Netflix Inc. investors are downplaying the threat from the just-unveiled HBO Max, an AT&T Inc. service with an impressive array of programming but a higher price.

Following an AT&T event on Tuesday showcasing HBO Max, Netflix shares surged. The stock climbed as much as 4.4% to $293.49 on Wednesday, marking the biggest intraday gain since Oct. 17, the day after Netflix’s latest earnings report.

The rally suggests investors think Netflix will be able to weather a more competitive streaming industry. In addition to HBO Max, which goes online in May, Apple Inc.’s TV+ service launches on Friday and Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ debuts in two weeks.

During the unveiling of HBO Max, AT&T executives took digs at Netflix, suggesting that the service was filled with low-quality shows that most people don’t watch. They presented HBO Max as a more curated product with premium programming.

“We actually think our value proposition improves when we narrow the options, removing much of the filler no one watches anyway,” said Bob Greenblatt, head of entertainment at AT&T’s WarnerMedia division.

But HBO Max’s $14.99-a-month price may turn off some customers. The most popular tier of Netflix’s service is $12.99, and rival products are even less. Apple will charge $4.99 for TV+, and Disney+ will go for $6.99.

Netflix shares are still down from their all-time high last year, but they’ve climbed almost 9% in 2019. The S&P 500 is up 21%.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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