Netflix’s Big Content Outlays Won’t Lead To Price Increases Yet, Execs Tell Analysts

David Lieberman
Deadline

Zootopia is generating “huge numbers” on Netflix, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says of the first Disney film offered on the streaming service as part the carriage deal that kicked in this year.

But Netflix execs, in their Q3 conference call with analysts, said nothing that shed light on one of the Street’s favorite rumors: that Disney might want to buy the company.

Sarandos, CEO Reed Hastings, and CFO David Wells defended the growing amounts that they’re spending for content, and predicted that it would not require big changes in strategy.

The content chief says he’s “excited” by the performance of Get Down, director Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant musical drama that premiered in August.

“It’s very large scale, cinematic,” Sarandos says. “We’re still seeing how it will unfold for the first season.”

And Hastings called his upcoming series The Crown — said to be the costliest show per episode ever produced — “some of the most impressive television I’ve ever seen.”

Despite the big outlays the company’s making, Netflix has “no plans for price increases,” the CEO says — outside of a legally mandated one in Brazil to adjust to inflation.

“There’s a lot of competition entering the market,” he noted. “We don’t want to get overconfident because we had a good couple of years.”

He reiterated that he’s “looking at” the possibility of allowing subscribers to download Netflix content,  but has “nothing specific to offer.”

Wells clarified his claim at an investor gathering last month that Netflix looks to have original productions make up about half of its offerings.

“We don’t have a target,” he says. “We like what we see in terms of the engagement of our originals so we’re going to expand them.….But we’re still expanding both” originals and acquisitions.

Sarandos added that while acquired productions will shrink as a percentage of the company’s offerings, “as an absolute number it will grow.”

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