As the recent smash hit Stranger Things proves, Netflix original shows have been some of the most popular digital programming over the past few years. If you’re a fan of their work, you’ve got reason to be excited because Netflix says more is on the way – a lot more.
Netflix CFO David Wells announced this week that the company is actually aiming to have original content make up half of its entire catalog in the next few years. That may sound like a lofty goal, but Wells said the service was already “one third to halfway” there.
Wells cited House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Thing as runaway hits, but said that when content is being produced in house, a show doesn’t have to be a smash success to be profitable. “We don’t necessarily have to have home runs” he said. “We can also live with singles, doubles and triples.”
There are numerous benefits for Netflix in focusing on original content. The main reason is that licensing is much easier and much less expensive. For Netflix to stream non-original shows, they have to pay a license to the show’s owner, and continue to pay that for as long as they offer that show. With original content, they have an initial production investment that then reaps benefits indefinitely.
Another main benefit is that it’s simply what viewers demand. A recent study showed that almost 50% of Netflix subscribers cited the service’s original content as the main reason they stay on board and that almost 25% of people say over half of their viewing is original content, so it’s clear what Netflix fans are looking for.
It certainly helps too that Netflix originals are almost always very well received, racking up over 30 Emmys in the past few award seasons.
In 2016 alone, Netflix has spent $5 billion on original programming. They’ve estimated they’ll spend $6 billion more next year. When Netflix original shows are what fans want, what critics love, and what helps Netflix make more money, it’s not too hard to understand why their focus is where it is.