Last week, Disney dropped a bomb on Netflix by announcing that it planned to remove all of its content from the subscription service and start their own competitive service by 2019.
Netflix basically responded to that news with a giant shrug by acquiring independent comic publishing company Millarworld and then signing megastar TV producer Shonda Rimes away from Disney’s ABC. Now, Netflix has made it clear just how unconcerned they are about losing Disney’s content by announcing that they will spend over $7 billion on content in 2018.
Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos shared that nugget as part of an interview with Variety about his company continues to navigate the ever-treacherous waters of content subscription services. That number doesn’t sound as shocking when compared to what the company is spending this year on content ($6 billion) or what they spent in 2016 ($5 billion), but it’s an indicator that whatever concerns anyone might have about Netflix’s ability to keep pace with Amazon, Hulu, and now Disney should be pushed aside for now.
That’s especially true when you consider just how far ahead of the pack Netflix already is. The service is expected to have a subscriber base of 128 million individual users by the end of 2017, two-thirds more than Amazon and five times what Hulu has. They’re also coming off of a year when they absolutely dominated subscription rivals in the Emmy nominations with 91 total, second only to HBO. Hulu was able to chalk up 18 and Amazon earned 16.
Netflix can thank a slew of critically acclaimed hits that also connected with audiences, including Stranger Things, Master of None, and The Crown. Those shows come on the heels of the services first big hits, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, which have both settled into late-season success as well. And despite the fact that Marvel is owned by Disney, the successful Marvel Netflix shows aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
As of now, Netflix is already $15.7 billion in the hole to outstanding obligations for new series and films over the next couple years. They’ll have to keep up a rather aggressive pace of success in order to make good on all those investments. So far, they’ve proven that they’re capable. While some of their recent efforts have been hit-or-miss, shows like GLOW and Ozark are on their way to becoming solid series in the mix as well. And given the new investments that have yet to start paying dividends, it sounds like Netflix’s unique offerings are only going to get better and more diverse.