Netflix is starting to make Hollywood nervous. The streaming service spends $6 billion a year on content, which is staggering: HBO spends a little more than $2 billion, which is already considered a lot.
That money is a godsend for anyone hoping to make a show, and the streaming service isn’t shy about offering shows two season deals up front. But Netflix now produces more programming than any individual network or cable station, and that has some executives talking as though a monopoly is on the horizon.
“I think it would be bad for storytellers in general if one company was able to seize a 40, 50, 60 percent share in storytelling,” said John Landgraf, head of FX Networks, to a gathering of TV critics, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Kim Masters.
That same story includes anecdotes of show-runners not feeling at ease with the company. Netflix reportedly doesn’t call partners to congratulate successes, or share much information at all. Masters:
Several [show-runners] say they have no idea how their show will be marketed, if at all. They get no feedback on how their show is received. There are no metrics, so rewards for success aren’t built into a deal (though compensation may be increased if a series’ budget goes up).
Regardless of how show-runners feel, Netflix plans to release 30 original series this year, about 600 hours of scripted content. Considering that Netflix only got in the content game in February 2013, when House of Cards premiered, that’s staggering.
The growth is so fast, some in Hollywood are reportedly hoping Netflix slows down, before they devour the industry. Masters:
The only thing growing faster than Netflix’s footprint is the hope among many in the town’s establishment that some combination of factors will slow the juggernaut.
The fear here is that Netflix will become so powerful, so fast, that it won’t have to be generous anymore. If Netflix is the only game in town, after all, creators have to accept their rates.
We’re not sure it’s going to come to that, but Netflix is cheaper than cable and people are noticing. Not so long ago, no one in Hollywood was taking Netflix’s content plans seriously. Now network executives are speculating about a potential monopoly. That’s a quick turnaround.