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Disney+ Could Be a Distinctly Clever Marketing Bet

By Robert Maisano - Nov 20, 2019 at 11:35PM

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Disney+ offers a sticky opportunity to gain -- and retain -- customers for generations to come.

Disney's ( DIS 2.84% ) new streaming service, Disney+, offers popular branded content from across the decades, new originals, and live tv. But the move into streaming isn't just to appease cord cutters. It offers an avenue to attract new customers and cycle them through other business areas from parks to products; effectively increasing the lifetime value of every Disney customer. 

By launching its own platform in the ongoing streaming wars, Disney+ is strengthening a multi-channel revenue stream few companies can replicate. 

Family watching TV together.

Image Source: Getty Images

Nearly a century of earned brand equity

Disney executives are confident they are targeting the right customers for their Disney+ rollout.

At investor day in April 2019, Ricky Strauss, President of Content & Marketing for Disney+ discussed targeting existing lead areas. "One of the clear advantages we have in marketing Disney+ is our access to an incredible number of touch points across The Walt Disney Company." In other words, Disney offers something for everyone in the family. Products include D23 fan club members, Disney Visa cardholders, Disney Vacation club, their partners at ESPN, FX, ABC, and Hulu; they have the power to reach over 100 million households, according to Strauss.

The king of content

Disney has already done the hard work. They've mastered the art of storytelling, something that cannot, by its very definition, be a science. Companies such as Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix, are pouring billions into content budgets in hopes of making art that resonates. Netflix, which is already in $12.4 billion in debt, has raised $2 billion to support its $15 billion content budget. Disney has already answered the seemingly impossible question of what makes popular content.

Original content is one of Netflix's strongest competitive advantages. But with Disney now in the ring, the company has no choice but to make more content as Disney pulled licensed content from their platform earlier this year.

As much as Netflix tries to make art a science by using viewer data to inform content direction, it's still a difficult process to get right. Tastes change and throwing money at content development won't make it remarkable— watch the final season of House of Cards or Game of Thrones to see why.

Disney+ supports other areas of the business, something its competitors cannot do as easily. The content will pair nicely with the Parks, Experiences & Products side of the business. They have new exhibits from the Stars Wars and Marvel franchise already open. The company has invested over $1 billion in original content for 2019. But more importantly, through their acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox they were able to complete the Marvel Cinematic Universe by adding Deadpool, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Cable, allowing for crossover content. By maintaining the viewer's attention it has the permission to market anything from a Disney cruise to a new action figure toy.

Does Disney+ make this stock a buy?

Yes. Here's why. Streaming can't be discussed without mentioning Netflix. It's true that Disney's 12 month forward PEG ratio is 5.18, which sits above the Media Conglomerate Industry average of 3.09. 

Company

PEG Ratio

PEG Ratio Industry Avg

P/E Ratio (TTM)

Disney

5.18

3.09 (Media Conglomerate)

24.65X

Netflix

3.14

1.28 (Broadcast Radio & TV)

94.26X

Amazon

2.81

1.44 (Internet- Commerce)

77.04X

Source: Zacks Investment Research

Both Netflix and Disney are punching above their respective industry average PEG ratio. Disney's punching higher, but if you look at the P/E ratio, Netflix is greatly overvalued. Disney+ is a product that solves a problem: getting more eyeballs on Disney content. Netflix and other streaming companies will have to keep solving the more intangible problem of making art that works. Disney is a better stock to buy right now, especially with the powerful marketing potential Disney+ offers and the attention it'll command from customers with its content. Disney+ may be the company's most important -- and valuable -- new asset. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$150.37 (2.84%) $4.15
Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$612.69 (1.75%) $10.56
Amazon.com, Inc. Stock Quote
Amazon.com, Inc.
AMZN
$3,427.37 (1.11%) $37.58

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