Today's Topics

3 midweek charts for you:

  • Disney used to be valued at 2x Netflix. That's not the case anymore.
  • Quibi launched to much fanfare, how's it doing now?
  • The UK has now been running coal free for a record number of days.
For a few days last week, Netflix's share price had risen by just enough to make the 22 year-old company more valuable than Disney, its content competitor that's been around for almost a century. At its peak Netflix's market cap was close to touching $200bn (data from Koyfin).

This week those share prices have reversed slightly such that Disney has technically retaken its crown. Even so, considering that towards the end of 2019 Disney was worth roughly 2x as much as Netflix was, it's been a startling shift in fortunes in such a short amount of time.

The catalyst – of course – has been coronavirus. In its most recent quarter Netflix announced they'd gained almost 16 million new subscribers. Disney on the other hand has had to shut its parks, furlough thousands of workers and push back film releases. While Disney+ (the streaming bit of Disney) may be doing well, for the business as a whole it still represents a tiny portion of revenues and profits – as we explored earlier this year.

Whether Netflix passes Disney again will probably come down to how long lockdown lasts, as well as the ferocity of competition from other streaming platforms, such as Quibi, which launched earlier this month...
You can make an argument that launching a brand new video streaming service during a global pandemic, when everyone has a lot of free time, is a pretty good stroke of fortune. Unfortunately for Quibi, which is short for "quick bites", their content was deliberately designed for busy people on the go, who might want to watch a 10-minute episode on their commute or in between meetings.

Quibi raised almost $2bn from investors before having even a single user, making it one of the most well funded startups of all time pre-launch. Now to be fair, you have to give credit where it's due. They are genuinely trying something fresh and innovative. The ability to watch on your phone in landscape or portrait mode (and switch between the two) with snappy content that ranges from dramatic to silly is, genuinely, original and unique.

So, should Netflix be worried?

The data suggests... no, not really. After debuting as high as rank 4 on the app-store category for free iPhone apps, Quibi's ranking has plummeted, leaving it outside of the 100 most popular in the US, according to data from Sensor Tower.

Quibi's social media followings are nothing special either. 190k on Instagram is pretty good going, but when you consider there's an account that posts about an egg that has 6.7 million, and even a few kids making charts has got 196k, it's not all that impressive considering the funding they've had. It's certainly not "viral".

In Quibi's defence, ratings for the app are not bad. More than half of the ~2500 ratings have been 5 stars, although another decent proportion have been only 1 star. Unfortunately for Quibi, the show going most viral seems to be "The Golden Arm", a bizarre story of a woman with a golden arm. Most reviews seem to agree it's a horror, but not in the way intended.
The UK has officially been running without coal power for more than 19 days, its longest ever streak. Okay, technically the longest since 1882, but still pretty good.

The green streak comes because of reduced electricity usage overall, with demand down by about a fifth relative to usual levels, allowing for more sustainable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to make up more of the total.

Coal is often used more in winter and colder months to top up power generation in the UK, with its use declining during the warmer months as solar in particular picks up the slack. In 2019 coal was only 2.1% of total power generation for the whole year. Could 2021 be the year the UK switches coal off for good?

Data Snacks

1) Never mind excess oil, Belgium reportedly has 750,000 tonnes of potatoes sitting in warehouses. Industry leaders are calling for Belgians to step up and eat chips twice a week, instead of just once.

2) Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has bought a ~6% stake in Live Nation (parent company of Ticketmaster) for $500m.

3) Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal with the loss of just 1 point yesterday... in a video game. His win catapults him into the quarter finals of the virtual tournament.

4) Google reported first-quarter revenue that was up 13% vs. the previous year. YouTube revenue drove a decent amount of that total, with YT revenue up 33%.

5) Played all your games during lockdown already? Get the Charty Party game with a 15% discount using the code CHARTR.**

6) Universal's film Trolls World Tour has racked up nearly 5 million digital rentals since its release on April 10th. At $20 a pop it's already made more than the 2016 original, according to The Wrap.

7) US confirmed cases of coronavirus have now passed 1 million.

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