Netflix Spent Over $50 Million On Emmy Nominated Content, More Than Doubling HBO’s Spending

Netflix broke HBO's Emmy nomination domination streak, but it came at a very high cost.

Netflix content spending budget
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Netflix broke HBO's Emmy nomination domination streak, but it came at a very high cost.

Netflix continues to prove itself as a force to reckon with in the entertainment industry. As The Motley Fool reminds us, Netflix ended HBO’s streak of dominating Emmy nominations for the past 17 years. The streaming giant brought in a total of 112 nominations, beating out HBO by four. On September 17, the streaming giant will likely convert some of the 112 nominations into winnings. This is a huge jump from last year when Netflix took home 20 Emmy Awards on their 91 nominations.

According to The Motley Fool, the numbers are “misleadingly impressive” as Netflix’s game plan is “to hurl mountains of cash into programming.” HBO, on the other hand, managed to stay just a few nominations behind Netflix while spending significantly less money on content. During an interview last year, HBO programming chief Casey Bloys even described the way Netflix spent money on content as “irrational.”

The question becomes – how much more did Netflix spend than HBO on this year’s Emmy nominations?

Last year, Netflix spent roughly $6 billion producing content. The streaming giant plans on upping that budget this year with an additional $2 billion for a total of $8 billion.

According to Bloomberg, those numbers are “relatively useless” as they are nothing more than “expected expenses.” Bloomberg went on to note, as of April 2018, Netflix had spent closer to $9.5 billion in content in the prior 12 months. So, the numbers tend to vary depending on what statistics are being considered.

The Motley Fool estimates Netflix’s 112 Emmy nominations to have cost the company between $54 and $85 million in content creation. Because Netflix pumps so much funding into original content, it becomes hard for anyone to put a concrete number on how much was spent only on the nominations.

By comparison, HBO spent an estimated $2.5 billion creating content in 2017. Roughly half of the network’s budget went toward licensing films. The network is estimated to have spent roughly $23 million on content, in total, for the 108 Emmy nominations this year.

While The Motley Fool does recognize comparing the two networks is a little like comparing apples and oranges, the numbers still give a pretty clear picture on how much more Netflix spends on content than other networks.

Netflix’s ability to continue to afford such a hefty content creation budget each year is largely thanks to the continued growth of subscribers. Last year, 26 million new customers signed up for Netflix streaming video services. Bloomberg estimates that 50 percent of American households with sufficient enough internet to support Netflix have a subscription to the streaming service.

As long as Netflix’s subscription numbers continue to rise, the amount of money spent on content creation will likely rise alongside it.