Netflix plans to use its recent price hikes to invest $8 billion in original films and anime

Netflix has previously said it wants 50% of its library to be original content in the next few years

Thomas McMullan
17 Oct 2017
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Netflix has said it will be increasing its yearly spend to a cheek-slapping $8 billion (£6.2 billion) in 2018, as part of a larger push to have 50% of its library be originally produced content.

The figure, issued during the company’s quarterly earning release on Monday, marks a substantial leap from the $6 billion (£4.5 billion) planned for this year. It comes at a time when big powers like Disney have made decisions to pull content from Netflix, moving it into their own ecosystems. It looks like Netflix wants to fight the risk of more third-party content owners pulling their licenses, not to mention the competition from Amazon-produced original content.

"We have a good head start, but our job is to improve Netflix as rapidly as possible […] to stay ahead of the competition in the decades to come," the company said.

Netflix CFO David Wells said in September 2016 he wants half of the platform's library to be original programming in the coming years, with the other 50% being made of licenced TV shows and movies. According to Ville Salminen, who runs streaming news site Cordcutting.com, as well as Netflix tracking site AllFlicks, that figure looks like it may be a challenge to reach: 

"Achieving a 50% mix between original and non-original content won't be easy for Netflix," says Salminen. "At least, not in 2018. Currently, Netflix has 432 original and 5,165 non-original releases in the U.S. To reach that 50%, the service would have to license/produce 4,733 new originals - if the number of non-originals would stay intact."

Two of the areas that are getting a big investment for 2018 are movies and anime. Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that the company plans to release “about 80” films in 2018, as well as 30 new anime series. Netflix has been increasingly pushing anime content in its library, from imports like Attack on Titan to original series like Neo Yokio.

If the move towards anime is likely to target younger viewers, the investment in movies will see the stream services gunning for a few prestigious awards. The Netflix-produced Meyerowitz Stories and Okja both screened at Cannes this year, but it has yet to bag on par with the Oscar winning, Amazon Studios-produced Manchester By The Sea.

Netflix recently announced it would be raising subscription fees in the US and UK, with tiers that were previously £7.50 and £9 per month jumping to £8 and £10 respectively.

Netflix has also shown interest in playing with choose-your-own adventure style TV shows, although there wasn’t any word on how much these experiments would get from that $8 billion pot.

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