Less than two weeks ago, Netflix announced it was raising subscription costs to keep up in the content race with Amazon, YouTube, and Hulu. During a conference call with investors on Monday, the streaming giant revealed plans to spend as much as $8 billion on original content in 2018, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The 33 percent increase from the $6 billion spent in 2017 is going toward 80 original films Netflix plans to release in 2018, including the high profile Martin Scorsese mob epic, The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. The network has also inked exclusive deals with content creators including Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, and Michael B. Jordan.
As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained, “Our future largely lies in exclusive original content that drives both excitement around Netflix and enormous viewing satisfaction for our global membership and its wide variety of tastes.” As such, the network is becoming less dependent on syndicated content from Disney and other major production studios. In fact, Disney recently announced plans to pull its catalog from Netflix as it eyes the launch of its own streaming service.
Netflix reported a third-quarter revenue of $2.99 billion, up 30 percent from last year. More importantly, the service added 850,000 subscribers in the US and 4.45 million internationally for a total of 5.3 million new members in the quarter. All of these figures exceeded analyst and Wall Street expectations. Netflix shares closed up $3.19 on Monday to $202.68 after recently hitting $200 per share for the first time following strong investor support for the pricing increase.