If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Netflix is all in on original content.
Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief of content, confirmed during an investors call today that Netflix was working on 30 anime series and 80 original films. Those films, Sarandos said, are slated to be released in 2018. Sarandos didn’t offer any additional information about what those movies or anime series look like, outside of information and deals (like the multi-picture deal with Adam Sandler) that have previously been announced.
“This past quarter we released eight original films,” Sarandos said. “We plan on about 80 coming up next year. And they range anywhere from the million dollar Sundance [Film Festival] hit all the way up to something on a much larger scale, like we’re seeing on Bright, which will be at the end of this year and Irishman, which is with Martin Scorsese, that should be in early 2019.”
Sarandos has been attempting to build Netflix’s content library into one of total exclusivity, previously saying he wanted the network’s offering to be 50 percent original content by the end of the year. This year alone, Netflix has released a couple of original anime series, including Neo Yokio, and films, like the upcoming sci-fi blockbuster, Bright. To accomplish his goal moving forward, Sarandos will spend up to $8 billion in 2018 to make Netflix’s library 50 percent original, increasing production on global series in a variety of markets.
With $8 billion in spending, the company is looking to increase global production and produce more content for non-North American or European-only audiences. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said in the past that he wants to produce a great anime series or Bollywood movie, making Netflix the first real global network.
Netflix’s CFO, David Wells, also confirmed that despite the company spending more money on content creation in 2018, that didn’t signal that another price hike was going to be occurring for North American or European subscribers anytime soon.
“There’s no timing correlation between our intent to grow content and to grow content spending and the price increases,” Wells said. “This has been planned for a long time and we’re sort of growing, slowly growing and planning the business steadily, so we’ve assumed we’re going to grow ASP (average selling price) slowly over time and we’re taking the content up with that as well.”
This means that Sarandos and the rest of the team at Netflix will look into further acquiring exclusively licensed programing, like Friends. When asked if Netflix executives were interested in acquiring the Weinstein Company, which received an infusion of funds from Colony Capital today, the option seemed unlikely.
The question comes after multiple women accused Weinstein Company co-founder, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual assault and harassment over the course of his career. Their stories came to light last week after a couple of investigative pieces were published. The studio has faced the possibility of a bankruptcy reorganization since the news broke.
Hastings addressed the question, saying that “it would be extremely unlikely for us to be a bidder for the firm.”