The other day, Netflix stock plummeted by 35%, losing $54 billion in market value, on the news that the streamer had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of the year, with an expected loss of 2 million more this quarter, per Deadline.
Immediately, people jumped in with explanations. Most obviously, there’s more competition than ever. Once upon a time Netflix was the only game in town, but now they have to compete with the likes of Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and more. Then there’s the fact that Netflix just pulled out of Russia, losing people there. There’s the open secret that pretty much everyone who has Netflix shares their password, something the company may start cracking down on. And then there’s the fact that, by now, pretty much everyone who wants a Netflix subscription has one. Short of improving the internet of developing nations so they can actually access services like Netflix, there aren’t really any new markets for the streamer to conquer.
Even with the drop, Netflix has over 220 million subscribers — easily the most of any subscription service — and takes in billions of dollars in revenue; it actually made more this quarter than it did at the same time last year, per The New York Times. Basically, Netflix is an unbeatable titan, but that doesn’t matter to shareholders; shareholders see a line go down on the graph, they panic, and then the stock goes willy-nilly. And that’s probably not the best time to hear that Netflix is spending record amounts of money on one of its golden children…
Netflix is reportedly spending $30 million per episode on Stranger Things season 4
Amid all the hubbub, The Wall Street Journal put out a report claiming that Netflix has spent $30 million per episode on the forthcoming fourth season of Stranger Things. At nine episodes long, that means Netflix spent $270 million on the new season, which is a huge number usually reserved for superhero tentpole movies like Avengers: Infinity War, which cost $300 million.
This is beyond even what a visual effects-heavy series like Game of Thrones spent at the top of its game; in the final couple of seasons of that show, HBO was spending around $15 million per episode. Meanwhile, per ScreenRant, Marvel shows like Loki and WandaVision cost around $20-$25 million per episode, with a lot of that going to actor salaries. There will be some of that with Stranger Things season 4, too; don’t ask what Winona Ryder is making, the answer will be too upsetting.
And Amazon is aiming to top everything with its new Lord of the Rings show. We are entering a new age of mega-budget productions. But how long can that last before things slow down…or collapse?