David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat. David is a tech journalist who loves old-school adventure games, techno and the Beastie Boys. He's currently on the finance beat.
Netflix clearly doesn’t want the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to get between you and your stories: The streaming giant plans to raise around $1 billion in debt to fund new content, Reuters reports.
The Los Gatos-based streaming monster reportedly said it would use the money to finance original content and make acquisitions where necessary. The outlet noted Netflix currently owes around $15 billion.
[Read: How to avoid accidental skips with Netflix’s new ‘screen lock’ feature]
The move comes in hot on the trails of Netflix’s quarterly earnings published on Tuesday, in which the company reported 15.77 million new paid subscribers had swelled its viewing base to 182.8 million, exceeding its previous projection of 7 million.
Impressive subscriber growth aside, earnings were generally in line with expectations; Netflix generated $5.77 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2020, up slightly from $5.47 billion in the quarter previous.
Netflix, like Hollywood, isn’t filming anything
This billion-dollar cash grab comes while production continues to be suspended across major studios, including Netflix’s. Even movies that are finished are stuck in limbo, with no cinemas open to screen them.
Unrestrained by the need for theatres, Netflix has captivated a growing audience with its original content, albeit propelled by COVID-19 lockdown measures set in place around the world.
Its documentary/reality show Tiger King went viral and pulled in 64 million accounts, and the dating “experiment” Love is Blind was wildly popular in its own right with 30 million.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that 85 million accounts watched the Marky Mark-led action flick Spenser Confidential, another Netflix original, and its best performing by far.
If you’re already done with all that, the shows funded by Netflix’s latest billion-dollar loan unfortunately won’t materialise for a while.
But die-hard Netflix fans shouldn’t fret. Most of its content that you’ll see over the next two years has already been filmed, and the company says it has 200 projects in post-production.
That’s work that can totally be done remotely, so there’s no need to resort to something boring like reading books or installing TikTok just yet.
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