In its ongoing pursuit of becoming a self-sufficient entertainment giant, Netflix will reportedly produce and release an estimated 700 TV shows and movies in 2018.
The figure comes from the company's CFO, David Wells, who spoke at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Tuesday, according to Variety. He said that the mass of original content is steadily driving Netflix's subscriber base up. The company's strategy, he said, continues to be, “Let’s continue to add content — it’s working, it’s driving growth."
Netflix has already disclosed its plan to spend $8 billion on content this year, which includes Netflix originals (like, Stranger Things) and licensed content (like, The Walking Dead). When asked how much spending on content will be enough for Netflix, Wells said that “there’s no magic line where you know exactly where you are” in terms of efficiency.
The new productions in "the 700-range" includes at least 80 original productions from outside of the United States, such as the upcoming psychological thriller, Dark, made in Germany; and returning seasons of past original series.
Wells stressed that there is "no religion" in the company surrounding original programming. He said that Netflix is producing more and more of its original content, but it's not closing the door on licensed properties either.
“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.”
According to Wells, 2018 will also see Netflix pouring more money into marketing at last. The company has gotten by with very little advertising up to this point, but last month investors learned that the marketing budget would be going up by more than 50% in 2018. Last year, the company spent $1.3 billion on marketing, while this year it's expecting to clear $2 billion.
“We used to think every incremental dollar was best spent on content,” Wells said, but they're finally caving in to the appeal of marketing because “we think marketing is a multiplier on the content spend."
Netflix had one of its biggest years of all time in 2017, ending the year with 117.6 million subscribers worldwide. However, for Wells, the sky is still the limit. “There’s more non-members than members of Netflix – that’s our opportunity,” he said.
During his talk, Wells was also asked about the company's recently penned five-year exclusive deal with Ryan Murphy, the producer behind American Horror Story, among many others. Wells told listeners that a deal like that was “somewhat rare… We aren’t doing 10 of them, we aren’t doing 20 of them.”
Last summer, Netflix reached a similar deal with Shonda Rhimes, another institution in network TV producing. Wells pointed to Murphy's appeal in global markets, not just in the U.S.