Netflix boss Reed Hastings, 57, has enjoyed an impressive year
Video streaming website Netflix has overtaken Disney to become America’s most valuable media company.
In a symbolic moment, the Silicon Valley firm overtook its Hollywood rival as investors continued to buy its stock.
It comes as a major showdown between the two looms.
Disney is to launch its own streaming service and its proposed tie-up with 21st Century Fox has been presented as a deal that would give it the firepower it needs to take on the technology companies.
Last night the entertainment giant was worth about £113billion, with Netflix worth £114billion.
It is another feather in the cap of Netflix boss Reed Hastings, 57, after an impressive year.
The firm started in 1998 as an online service renting DVDs by post. By 2007 the company, having seen the success of video website YouTube, introduced video streaming instead.
Hastings said at the time: ‘Movies over the internet are coming, and at some point it will become big business.’
His prediction was to prove correct. Last year, Netflix users watched 1bn hours of video every week.
However it is now fighting for market share against rivals such as Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.
Disney dates back to 1923 and its rival streaming service could prove formidable. The company behind Mickey Mouse has more than 145 movies at its disposal and has acquired blockbuster franchises such as Star Wars and Marvel’s superhero series.
As the battle for content has intensified, Netflix has increased its spending on original series and its shows, including Stranger Things, The Crown and House of Cards, have won acclaim.
More recently it has also struck a series of high-profile content deals, ranging from Hollywood director JJ Abrams to former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
Netflix reached 125m subscribers in April and its shares have soared by more than 120 per cent in a year.
Analysts say it is set to reach even greater heights.