Netflix wants to spend up to 15 percent of its entire licensing budget on the production of original content within the next few years, according to Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos, who said Thursday at the Nomura 3rd Annual U.S. Media & Telecom Summit in New York that the company is going to keep growing its original output over the next few years, with the goal of roughly doubling the number of titles within the next 18 months.
The company is currently spending around five percent of its content money on originals like House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and the new season of Arrested Development. Asked about that show, Sarandos said that the company had extremely high expectations about the initial viewership of the show. “And it met our expectations, and we are thrilled,” he said.
He added that viewers also seem to love the show, despite a few early bad reviews. 80 percent of the viewers who watched the show within the first 24 hours rated it four or five stars, Sarandos revealed.
Sarandos also had to answer a few questions about the company’s decision not to renew its deal with Viacom, which has led to the company removing popular kids shows like Dora, Spongebob and Blue’s Clues. Sarandos defended the move, pointing to some of the other kids content that Netflix has added recently and saying: “I feel like that was the right trade-off.”
Sarandos said that slate deals like the previous agreement with Viacom, which force Netflix to buy a wide breadth of content, often simply aren’t worth the money, especially if the same content is available elsewhere as well. “We value that content for sure. We just disagreed on the value of the content,” he said.
However, Netflix executives have stated in the past that they’d be willing to license some of Viacom’s more popular shows individually, and Sarandos said Thursday that this option is still on the table: “These discussions are ongoing,” he explained.