Despite critical duds, a skirmish with Disney over streaming rights, and revitalized efforts from Hulu to edge out the competition, Netflix is poised for another huge year thanks to the upcoming slate of original movies and TV shows that should bring the streaming network's original content total up to around 700, by the end of 2018.
The number of movies available to stream on Netflix has dropped a substantial amount in recent years. Over 2,500 titles disappeared from the streaming site's library between 2010 and 2018. Available TV series did increase, but not nearly enough to cover the gap. Over 1,000 new series were added to Netflix's library in that same 8-year span. But as over 70 percent of the site's content is still made up of films, that leaves the company at a major deficit in terms of available content for subscribers. Multiple missteps in casting and original franchises have only added to the streaming network's woes. Along with the massive loss of money wasted by partnering with, and then severing ties from, disgraced actors like Kevin Spacey and Danny Masterson, critics have been pondering the site's future after seemingly ill-advised projects like the critically maligned Bright and the "surprise" release of The Cloverfield Paradox. It turns out, Netflix does indeed have a plan to win back subscriber interest and climb their way out of their $20.54 billion-shaped hole of debt. And yes, it's an expensive one.
Netflix CFO David Wells outlined the company's plans to generate more original content in 2018. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, via Variety, Wells promised around 700 total original options will be in the streaming site's library by the end of 2018. This does include the original content that is already up on the site.
To achieve this ambitious goal, Netflix has already begun partnering with major names, offering exclusive deals to prolific showrunners like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy. The company is also looking to more foreign creatives for their original content. 80 of the 700 total projects will be overseas productions, in a move likely inspired by the 700 million global broadband users Wells sees as potential new subscribers. In addition to this influx of talent, Netflix is upping the money spent on their original content. They plan to spend over $8 billion in content alone and will spend an additional $2 billion in advertising. Wells revealed the company's new stance on advertising, saying Netflix now believes marketing only adds to their original content budget in the long run.
Perhaps it's this massive increase in content that has given Netflix so much confidence and calm in the face of Disney's much-hyped, upcoming streaming service. Despite the potential to lose Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney titles, Netflix doesn't see the new streaming service as a threat, claiming the company will be able to keep growing with or without Disney's content. Seeing as the House of Mouse intends to keep all the content on their streaming service strictly family-friendly, Netflix's much more envelope-pushing projects are bound to attract a completely different sort of audience altogether.