A lot of investors seem to think so. Netflix shares rose 6.1% today — closing at $247.38, the highest that number’s been in nearly two years — after the company said that it will replace its usual audio quarterly conference call with a live video discussion. On July 22 CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells will answer questions from BTIG Research’s Rich Greenfield and CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. They can ask their own, and integrate others submitted to them by investors via email or Twitter. “It’s an unprecedented format, and not one you’d do it you had bad news,” says Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible. Today’s increase caps a 167% rise in Netflix’s stock price in 2013, and 202% jump over the last 12 months. Greenfield’s participation in the event raised a few eyebrows. “From the outside it makes it look like you’re biased,” Wible says. “There’s a soft dollar benefit to being out in front and getting this attention.” But Greenfield says he isn’t being paid, making this is no different than having an analyst question a CEO at an investor conference. “Our intellectual independence is pretty well known,” he says. “The proof will be in the questions we ask.” In April he formally initiated coverage of the company with a “buy” recommendation and a $250 price target. Up to then he had been “scared” to take the step, he said, due to its “extreme share price volatility.” Netflix’s efforts to offer original programming at a relatively low monthly price should “drive better than expected subscriber growth and moderate churn… with domestic revenue growth outpacing content spend.” CNBC personalities frequently moderate private events. For example, this week Becky Quick will go behind closed doors at Allen & Co’s secretive gathering of moguls in Sun Valley to moderate a panel.
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