Saturday, December 12, 2020

Disney Stock Hits New High

Walt Disney Co. has become a box-office Death Star over the past decade, capable of destroying any competition on the big screen, reports The Wall Street Journal.  On Thursday, the company made it clear it plans to extend that dominance to the streaming arena.

Darth Vader, Buzz Lightyear, the witches of “Hocus Pocus” and seemingly every other character created by the company in the past several decades is helping it get there. Disney unveiled an array of new shows and bullish revised guidance Thursday that made clear its trio of streaming services—Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+—would seek to take on market leader Netflix Inc. in several arenas, including spending on content and the hunt for subscribers around the world.

In addition to announcing plans for 100 new titles to debut annually, Disney revised guidance that had previously predicted Disney+ could hit 90 million subscribers by 2024. The new projection was an earthquake: as many as 260 million. Netflix currently has 200 million subscribers, but it isn’t growing as quickly. Other streaming upstarts, like WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock are far behind.

Wall Street sent Disney stock to an all-time high Friday, with shares rising about 14% in afternoon trading to around $176.

There is no doubt that Disney has put Netflix on notice not to let its guard down in terms of content spending. BMO Capital Markets has projected that Netflix will spend more than $17 billion on content this year, with that figure expected to grow to $26 billion by 2028. Disney plans to spend between $14 billion and $16 billion by 2024, with most of that going toward Disney+.

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