September 20, 2019
With a slew of new subscription streaming video services launching soon, including Apple TV+ and Disney+ in November, and NBC Universal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max early next year, market behemoth Netflix is preparing for battle.
Speaking Sept. 20 at the Royal Television Society confab in Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told attendees the SVOD pioneer has spent $500 million (£400 million) on original content production in the region this year with plans to increase the amount next year.
Over the summer, Netflix leased Pinewood Studios’ Shepperton facility — a move later emulated by Disney for Pinewood’s Buckinghamshire facility near London.
Netflix’s forthcoming comic book-based action movie, The Old Guard, starring Oscar winners Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor and KiKi Layne, among others, was filmed at Shepperton.
“While we’ve been competing with many people in the last decade, it’s a whole new world starting in November,” Hastings said, as first reported by Variety. “It’ll be tough competition. Direct-to-consumer will have a lot of choice.”
Hastings said Netflix was not interested in acquiring production facilities globally, preferring to rent as market conditions dictate.
He said the increased SVOD competition worldwide (Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+ all have global aspirations), including Amazon Prime Video have upped production costs exponentially.
“Someday ‘The Crown’ will look like a [fiscal] bargain,” he said.
Hastings added that as SVOD and ad-supported streaming proliferate worldwide, traditional pay-TV still dominates consumer viewing habits.
“We win only about 5% of television viewing hours, so we’re nowhere near a concentration risk [to pay-TV],” he said.