Netflix’s market value surpassed the market value of Disney for a brief period on Thursday, making it the most valuable media company in the world. According to FactSet, shares of the company went up by 1.8 percent, reaching a market value of $152.6 billion. At the same time, Disney’s stock value came down by 1 percent, and the current market value of the company is $151.8 billion.
Disney is upping the game in the streaming video market to compete against Netflix. The company rolled out ESPN+ last month. This service is first-ever direct-to-consumer service which has live sports and other programming. The cost of this service is $4.99 per month and $9.99 for the year. The company is also planning to start a Disney- branded streaming service by next year.
However, a Wall Street analyst believes that Netflix is just getting started where its international subscriber expansion is concerned.
“We believe Netflix still has a considerable opportunity ahead if it can achieve reasonable penetration levels internationally,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Nat Schindler said in a note to clients last week.
“Netflix will face varying levels of competition, regulation, and economic conditions in each individual market it participates in, but its content scale should allow it to become the dominant streaming player in virtually all markets.”
Netflix said that its current membership numbers are close to 125 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter. This figure is quite understandable considering the kind of deals that Netflix is closing in – deals that include signing of some favorite creators like Shonda Rhimes of Scandal, Robert Kirkman of “The Walking Dead,” comedians like Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld, and most recent and newsworthy deal with Barack and Michelle Obama to produce films and TV series. Netflix’s star shows such as Stranger Things and Jessica Jones are real crowd pleasers. And the majority of subscribers are willing to pay a higher monthly subscription fee to keep the service.
Currently, Netflix is the best performing stock in the S & P 500 by far this year. The online streaming company’s shares are up by 82 percent as of Thursday.