Covid-19 bad news is good news for Netflix

…now has 160 million subscribers globally and valued more than ExxonMobil

Netflix has become a more valuable company than the US oil giant ExxonMobil , as the streaming service benefits from increased viewing of television and films during coronavirus lockdowns.

Shares in the company moved 5% higher in early trading on Wall Street on Thursday to a new record high of $448 (£360), taking its market value to $196bn.

At the same time ExxonMobil’s share price fell 3% to $39.30, giving it a market capitalisation of $166bn as the price of oil slumped. As recently as 2013 the company was the most valuable in the world, but is now worth about 13% as much as tech titans Apple and Microsoft.

Netflix, which has more than 160 million subscribers globally, was boosted by the success of original content released after lockdown measures were imposed around the world, such as the seven-part documentary series Tiger King, which tells the story of Joe Exotic, an eccentric breeder of big cats.

The service’s rivals, such as Amazon’s Prime Video, with an estimated 118 million users, and Disney’s new streaming service, also benefited from new users. Disney+ only launched in the UK and other western European markets in February, and has already doubled its global subscriber base to 50 million.

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