Netflix is set to introduce 59 new original things in July, including several new seasons of popular TV shows, entirely new series, new movies, new documentaries, and even some new anime.
There’s a new season of Umbrella Academy, a high-profile Charlize Theron film, a sequel to the popular teen romcom The Kissing Booth, a final season of the popular sports documentary series Last Chance U, and the highly anticipated remake of The Babysitters Club. Quite frankly, it’s a lot. That 59 number doesn’t account for additional licensed content the streamer will introduce next month, either. Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, Spaceballs, Cloud Atlas, and The Karate Kid trilogy are also landing on Netflix on July 1st.
By simple math, Netflix will have close to two new original titles for every single day of July and a plethora of new licensed content on top. Look, the company is straight up flexing.
Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, Apple TV Plus, and Amazon Prime Video are arguably five of Netflix’s biggest competitors. Quibi, to a lesser extent, is also in that pool. None of the services come close to adding the number of originals that Netflix will next month.
Some of those services, like HBO Max and Quibi, are understandably behind, given how new they are. Both companies are also dealing with originals scheduled to debut at launch being delayed because of the pandemic. But while Quibi is struggling tenfold because it doesn’t offer licensed content, HBO Max can pull in titles from its HBO, Warner Bros., TBS, TNT, and other arms to supplement offerings. HBO Max has a handful of new original titles, but most are catalog additions (albeit, a ton of them).
At six months old, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus’ rollouts are slower than Netflix, which has made original content for seven years. Disney Plus has two major additions — Muppets Now and Hamilton — but most July additions are older Disney and National Geographic titles. Apple TV Plus, meanwhile, has the recently acquired Greyhound starring Tom Hanks and Sara Bareilles’ Little Voice.
While Hulu has a number of licensed titles coming in from its content partners, there are only a couple of new July originals — including Andy Samberg’s Palm Springs, which made news in January after becoming the most expensive movie ever bought at Sundance Film Festival for $17.5 million. Amazon Prime Video has a handful of new originals, including Dave Bautista’s anticipated My Spy, which it acquired from STX, and a new season of the streamer’s coming-of-age thriller, Hanna. Like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video will also add an assortment of new licensed titles, including all five seasons of The Fosters, which is leaving Netflix in July.
How is it that Netflix can have a month with 59 originals premiering when other streamers are reportedly slowing down their output because of the pandemic? Or how can Netflix have so many films ready to go when other studios — including Warner Bros., Disney, Universal, Paramount, and Sony — are delaying theirs and figuring out what their 2020, 2021, and 2022 schedules look like?
Part of it is that Netflix works much differently. Full seasons of each show drop at once so Netflix is forced to shoot an entire season pretty far in advance. And since Netflix is a global company, filming has also resumed in countries and states that allow it. Plus, the company has more than 200 projects currently being worked on remotely. That includes scripted programming that’s already been shot, animated series, movies, and an assortment of other titles that Netflix has planned for the next 12 months or so.
“Our 2020 slate of series and films are largely shot,” Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, told analysts during the company’s recent quarterly earnings call, “and are in post-production stages in locations all over the world. And we’re actually pretty deep into our 2021 slate. We don’t anticipate moving the schedule around much, and certainly not in 2020.”
But the main factor here is that Netflix’s commitment to original content is paramount. Executives figured out early on how a streaming model has to work in order to survive, and that success is being seen now in the middle of a pandemic while others are struggling. Netflix realized early on that content, above everything else, was key to keeping people engaged with its service on a daily basis.
That’s why the company ramped up production tenfold. By the time Netflix started to realize that other companies would want to enter the direct-to-consumer streaming marketplace for themselves instead of licensing to Netflix, the company was already knee-deep in figuring out its strategy to produce more original projects around the world.
By 2017, Netflix said more than 50 percent of its content budget would go to developing its own series and films. It’s a hefty budget, too — one that reportedly comes in at just over $18 billion in 2020 alone. That includes content from around the world, which Netflix can then place on its streaming service globally. One of Netflix’s most popular shows in the United States is Spain’s Money Heist, for example.
Netflix can have nearly 60 original things land on its streaming service in July because this is the spot it was always building toward. Streamlining its own original content means that it isn’t beholden to theatrical releases from other studios and network schedules; Netflix has nearly full control over what appears on its platform and when. Netflix is sitting back feeling pretty comfy — and if that’s not straight up flexing, I don’t know what is.