Netflix plans to release 80 original movies in 2018
'Anywhere from the million-dollar Sundance hit, all the way up to something on a much larger scale'
The company said it plans to increase its spending on content to between $7 billion and $8 billion (all figures U.S.) next year, executives revealed on Monday during updates about the firm's third-quarter earnings. That's up from the $6 billion Netflix spent this year.
The plan includes movies "anywhere from the million-dollar Sundance hit, all the way up to something on a much larger scale," chief content officer Ted Sarandos said Monday.
In the past quarter, the company's feature film slate included movies such as Angelina Jolie's First They Killed My Father, based on Loung Ung's experiences during Cambodia's brutal Pol Pot regime, and the controversial To the Bone, which delves into eating disorders.
New and upcoming Netflix titles include dramas like Mudbound and The Meyerowitz Stories, which earned kudos on the film festival circuit, as well as its big-budget fantasy-infused police thriller Bright, starring Will Smith.
According to company executives, the spending increase is not tied to the price increases for subscribers (including Canadians) this fall, but had been planned for some time.
For several years, Netflix has had solid success with its stable of original streaming series. Early offerings like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have made way for a wide-ranging tidal wave of popular titles such as Stranger Things, Narcos, Master of None, The Crown, GLOW and nostalgic revamps of The Gilmore Girls and Full House.
However, it also faces its share of obstacles.
In addition to concerns about subscribers balking at price increases, the company faces a growing number of competitors like Amazon and Hulu fighting over coveted, high-profile projects. At the same time, existing media partners — such as CBS and Disney — are moving toward pushing content to their own streaming services.
The company has been regularly blasted by international theatre chains owners and even some filmmakers for its release model, which debuts movies in theatre the same day they begin streaming on Netflix.
It has also faced criticism of ongoing efforts to expand into international markets, with questions as to whether the company's investments could negatively affect existing funding structures.