Netflix is set to have a monster year. The streaming service will spend as much as $8 billion to create almost 700 original movies and TV shows this year, per CFO David Wells. That number would dwarf any of its competitors in both streaming and traditional television.
As reported by Variety, the massive uptick in content is meant to expand Netflix’s subscriber base. Wells shared the news on Tuesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, adding that the 700 pieces of original content will also include 80 original international productions.
The company has operated under the strategic blueprint of, “Let’s continue to add content — it’s working, it’s driving growth,” Wells said.
While Netflix has been largely producing its own content, he noted that there is “no religion” at Netflix on where they source programming. “People don’t care where the stories come from,” he said. “We’re about having the best content. We don’t necessarily have to do it ourselves.”
At the end of 2017, Netflix had 117.6 million streaming members globally. “There’s more non-members than members of Netflix—that’s our opportunity,” Wells said, while pointing to the approximately 700 million broadband users worldwide, minus China, where Netflix has yet to take off.
Last month, Netflix blew its fourth quarter subscriber-growth expectations out of the water, bringing in 8.3 million new customers from the US and abroad. Still, Netflix intends to increase its marketing budget by over 50 percent in 2018. “We think marketing is a multiplier on the content spend,” Wells explained.
Netflix has been gearing up for its content push by poaching the industry's top talent. The streaming giant recently inked a five-year exclusive deal with mega-producer Ryan Murphy in February, and a multi-year production deal with the equally prolific Shonda Rhimes. A number of new series and movies are set to be released in March, including season two of Jessica Jones, the latest installment of David Letterman’s show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman: Malala Yousafzai, and Drew Barrymore’s returning show “Santa Clarita Diet.” Let the binge-watching begin.