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Netflix tops Disney as the world's most valuable media company

At least until the most ambitious crossover event in history.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the company's Australian launch.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at the company's Australian launch.
Claire Reilly/CNET

Wall Street is a topsy-turvy world, and now Netflix is the media king on top of it. 

Thursday, Netflix's market capitalization -- finance-speak for the total value of its stock -- crested higher than the market cap for Disney, previously the most valuable media company in the world. Netflix is worth about $153.8 billion compared with Disney's $152 billion, as of recent trading. Netflix surpassed Comcast's market cap Wednesday, too. 

In the 15 years since Netflix's shares first went public, the company has skyrocketed both in market value and operational milestones to become a transformational force in entertainment. Earlier this year, Netflix surpassed 125 million worldwide subscribers, and the competitive threat of Netflix's $10 billion content budget this year has traditional titans like Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner all scrambling to buy (or be bought by) each other. 

But critics would point out some lopsided factoids about Netflix's business versus Disney's. Disney's annual revenue last year was $55.1 billion. Netflix's? About a fifth of that at $11.6 billion. 

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