Netflix's Public Comments: Greater Transparency Turns Into Window Dressing

| About: Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)

Recently, both the former CFO of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Barry McCarthy, and the CEO, Reed Hastings, have made some very positive public comments about their company outside of the normal reporting cycle. The propriety of those comments stirred a lot of debate.

This kind of ties in to a new pair of policies that Netflix enacted with this reporting cycle:
1. Providing the quarterly results via ir.netflix.com instead of in the press release
2. Taking questions for the conference call via email

I initially applauded the moves as steps towards greater transparency and greater accessibility to the general investing public. Anyone who might want to ask questions on the conference call could ask them, and if they were relevant, they would get answered.

The actual results appear to be that one individual investor got to ask a question, and the remainder were asked by the usual suspects. One particular investor, Andrew Shapiro, allegedly sent in a very relevant and interesting question that didn't make it onto the call. Somewhat disappointing to me, especially given my initial and immediate public enthusiasm and defense of the proposed practice.

Maybe it was maiden voyage technical glitches, or maybe it was over-aggressive filtering somewhere on the inside. I'll never know, but it does leave a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

I also initially had a warm feeling towards the openness and candidness of Reed and Barry's unorthodox announcements of optimism. On further reflection, and despite the accuracy of the prognostications, I'm a little less happy with how the cat was let out of the bag early. In hindsight, it does feel like there was too much attention being paid to window dressing and external concerns, instead of the laser-like focus on moving the business forward that I remember to be much more the norm.

I'm all for improvement and innovation (as a matter of fact, continuous improvement and innovation is a hallmark of Netflix). However, some of these more recent steps may not be steps forward, after all.

Disclosure: I am long NFLX.

Additional disclosure: I have some covered calls written against a part of my long position, and I exercised and sold about 8% of my employee options today.