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Disney warns Netflix: “There is no competition like ours”

Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue in Disneyland

Bob Iger was only partly joking when he said it would be “remiss” of him not to mention Baby Yoda in Walt Disney’s first quarter earnings call. The lovable star of the company’s new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, is an excellent example of Disney’s ability to penetrate multiple markets with one character: children charmed by Baby Yoda’s floppy ears and big eyes have been buying the cuddly toys, watching the series on Disney+ and persuading their parents to take them to Disneyland’s Star Wars theme park.

No company matches Walt Disney’s (US: DIS) ability to produce highly sought-after content and characters. Netflix (US: NFLX) – arguably its biggest rival in the fast-evolving entertainment industry – spent an estimated $15bn in 2019 to produce films like The Irishman, Marriage Story and Klaus. Entertaining and Oscar-worthy they may be, but Netflix original content doesn’t contend with the money-making ability of the films rolled off the Walt Disney studios slate in 2019: Avengers Endgame, Toy Story 4 and The Lion King contributed to a record-breaking $11bn of total box office takings for the year.

Going forward, investors need to ponder two big…

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