As you’ve surely noticed by now, Netflix boasts an ever-expanding library of original movies and TV series. “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” and “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” are just some of the conversation starters to premiere on the streaming giant in recent weeks, and they have something in common: They all cost money to acquire and/or produce. So much, in fact, that Netflix spent $12 billion on content in 2018 — and, according to Wall Street analysts (per Variety), could see that number rise as high as $15 billion this year.
“We believe [Netflix] could, if it chose, ramp margins more quickly by limiting growth in its substantial investment in global marketing and production, but it is (wisely) playing the long game,” Ben Swinburne of Morgan Stanley wrote in a note. The company spent $8.9 billion on content in 2017 and, according to Daniel Salmon of BMO Capital Markets, may spend as much as $17.8 billion in 2020.
“The more investment you’re putting in, the more people are finding content that they love and the more they have value in the service,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings during an investor interview on Thursday. Netflix is essentially spending money to make money, especially with competing services from Disney and others on the horizon.
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Upcoming originals include “The Umbrella Academy,” “Velvet Buzzsaw,” and “High Flying Bird,” all of which are slated to premiere in the next month. With Sundance starting next week, Netflix is sure to add more films to its library before the festival ends.