Netflix isn’t slowing down. The world’s biggest streaming service is projected to spend $17.3 billion this year on content, according to a new estimate from BMO Capital Markets — or about $2 billion more than it spent in 2019.
A Netflix rep did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on the BMO report.
Netflix’s big investment comes as it is dealing with an onslaught of new competitors, including Disney+, AppleTV+ and several others that will be launching later this year. Those services haven’t earmarked anywhere near the same amount for new content as Netflix, however: Disney will put about $1 billion into new shows for Disney+ this year, while HBO Max, which will debut this spring, is expected to put $2 billion into its service in its first year. NBCU’s Peacock streaming service is also projected to put $2 billion into content in its first two years, following its launch this spring.
To keep the hit shows coming, Netflix is for the moment swimming in debt. By last count, Netflix’s total liabilities, including long-term debt, totaled $24.1 billion, according to its third quarter financial report. Netflix will share its Q4 results next Tuesday.
Still, the debt and increased competition hasn’t scared away investors. Netflix’s stock is trading at about $338 per share on Thursday morning, putting it up about 10% in the last month. With more than 158 million global customers — and more than 60 million in North America — Netflix has started to look towards international markets like India to attract new subscribers; part of this plan includes spending more on shows that are aimed at non-U.S. subscribers.
BMO Capital anticipates Netflix will continue investing heavily in content as the decade unfolds, projecting the company’s content budget will increase to $26 billion by 2028.