Netflix exec says 85 percent of new spending will go towards original content

In case you had any doubts that original content is a big priority at Netflix, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos estimated that 85 percent of the company’s total spending is going to new shows and movies.

That’s according to Variety, which reported on Sarandos’ remarks today at MoffettNathanson’s Media & Communications Summit 2018 in New York. He also said Netflix has a 470 originals scheduled to premiere between now and the end of the year, bringing the total up to around 1,000.

It’s probably not surprising that the service is prioritizing originals. After all, Netflix seems to be highlighting a new one every time I open it up, and competitors like Apple, Amazon and Hulu are ramping up their own spending.

But the depth of Netflix’s library, which is achieved by licensing content from others, has always seemed like a strength — in fact, a recent study found that licensed content generates 80 percent of Netflix viewing in the United States.

Part of the context here is that many of the studios that have sold their content to Netflix in the past are now either saving it for their own streaming services or looking to raise the prices.

And while movies account for one-third of viewing on Netflix, Sarandos pointed to new, big budget titles as one area where it no longer makes sense for the streaming service to spend a ton of money — because if you really want to catch the latest blockbuster, you probably already saw it in theaters.

“We said, maybe we can put the billion dollars we’d put in an output deal into original films,” he said.

Sarandos also sees an opportunity to develop more unscripted content like Queer Eye, and to sign big deals with high-profile showrunners like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

Netflix had previously projected that it would spend $7 billion to $8 billion on content this year. And just today, Netflix announced that it’s renewing Lost in Space for a second season (we were fans of season one) and picked up 10 After Midnight, a horror anthology series from Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro.

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