Netflix is aiming to fill half of its streaming catalog with original programming over the next few years, according to company CFO David Wells (via Variety).
The announcement marks a renewed push towards offering original TV shows and movies commissioned by Netflix over stocking licensed content. The streaming catalog is already one third of the way toward reaching the target, according Wells, who said the company was undergoing “a multiyear transition and evolution toward more of our own content”.
Netflix expects to launch 600 hours of programming in 2016, up from 450 hours in 2015, said content chief Ted Sarandos at the start of the year. The company has projected content spending on a profit/loss basis to rise from $5 billion in 2016 to more than $6 billion in 2017.
Wells said the original TV series and movies will continue to be a mix of content owned and produced by Netflix, as well as co-productions and acquisitions. The streaming market is seeing a decreasing cost of production and an increasing number of bidders, making it cheaper to take risks on new programming.
“You have supply and demand settling out,” Wells continued. “We don’t necessarily have to have home runs. We can also live with singles, doubles and triples especially commensurate with their cost.”
The goal, he said, is to release something that appeals to each individual subscriber, every single month, and on that front “we’ve got a ways to go” across different genres and formats. “The nice thing about the platform is it allows a lot of creative freedom,” Wells added, offering the production of episodes of varying lengths as an example.
Netflix is in the process of transitioning all U.S. subscribers to its standard $9.99 monthly plan, which it says will help generate revenue for investing in original content. However, the forced switch increases the price for some older subs by $2 per month and has led to higher cancellation rates than the company anticipated. Netflix reported a lower-than-expected 160,000 net U.S. streaming subs for the second quarter.
A follow-up season of Stranger Things, one of Netflix’s most recent breakout hit shows, has already been confirmed. On August 31, the company renewed the series for a second season of nine episodes, to be released in 2017.
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