It has been an eventful week for Netflix Inc. (NFLX), as it took giant strides to become the largest media company in the world. On Wednesday, its market capitalization surpassed that of Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), and on Thursday it managed to beat The Walt Disney Co. (DIS) in market valuation during the intraday trading session.
Netflix's stock price rose by around 1.8 percent to touch an intraday high of $354.00, while Disney lost around 1 percent.
The Rise of Netflix
Netflix has emerged as one of the best performing stocks of the year 2018. It has generated a return of 73.73 percent year to date (YTD). Comparatively, Disney’s returns have declined by more than 5 percent and Comcast’s fell by more than 21 percent during the same period.
The competition among the top media companies continues to be fierce, especially in the online streaming space. With the easy availability of high-speed broadband services and the rising adoption of on-demand content across the globe, media companies are set to grab a piece of the market.
Netflix has tasted huge success with its venture into creating original content. It has gained a huge fan following owing to its popular shows like "Stranger Things," "Orange is the New Black, "The Crown" and "13 Reasons Why." Despite a price hike in its subscription fee last year, the subscriber count continues to increase. In its recent earnings report, Netflix revealed that it had 125 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Nat Schindler believes that its subscriber base can increase by 8 percent each year to reach 360 million members through 2030. "We believe Netflix still has a considerable opportunity ahead if it can achieve reasonable penetration levels internationally. 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," Schindler told CNBC. (See also, Why Netflix Content Is Different In Other Countries?)
Other competitors, like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Google's YouTube have not managed to hit Netflix. The nearest competitor Disney recently launched its first-ever direct-to-consumer service called ESPN Plus. The service includes live sports and other programming and costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 for the year. It also has plans to launch an exclusive Disney-branded streaming service by 2019. For now, the race is expected to continue neck and neck among the top contenders. (See also, Who Are Netflix's Main Competitors?)
Netflix stock gave up some of its intraday gains by the end of the trading session on Thursday. Its market cap went back to $151.83 billion at the close, while that of Disney stood marginally higher at $152.19 billion to regain the lead. Cable giant Comcast continues to retain the third rank with a market value of $145.55 billion. (See also, Netflix Breakout May Lead to 14% Surge.)