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Netflix Goes on 'Charm Offensive,' Wants Everyone to Know It Still Has $17 Billion to Spend on Movies and TV Shows

Netflix exec Bela Bajaria
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Netflix's top content executives have launched a 'charm offensive' in the creative community, attempting to persuade filmmakers and TV show-runners that they're still on track to spend $17 billion on programming this year. They also want to let everyone know that cutting back on content is not part of their strategy to reverse the current downward trajectories of subscriber growth and revenue. 

According to Variety, which said it spoke to creatives who recently took some of those in-person and phone meetings, the push is being led by Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, along with Scott Stuber, global head of film for Netflix, and Bela Bajaria, global head of TV. 

Notably, at last month's Cannes Film Festival, Netflix spent $50 million to acquire the movie project Pain Hustlers, which has Harry Potter director David Yates and star Emily Blunt attached to it. And as Variety also noted, Netflix's announcement last week of a Squid Game-inspired reality competition series has a huge $4.56 million grand prize attached to it. 

Publicly, the messaging has been consistent with these insider reports.

Keynoting the Banff Film Festival last week, Bajaria conducted a little rhetorical sand-bagging, noting that Netflix now has the feeling of an "underdog" in the global acquisitions market. But she also said, “This year, we’re expected to spend $17 billion on content, that hasn’t changed in that way.”

Notably, in the shareholder letter that accompanied its April 19 "Black Tuesday" earnings report, Netflix said it would be "doubling down on story development and creative excellence." But in its action plan to reaccelerate growth, it didn't mention cutting its content spending. 

For his part, Sarandos is set to make a public speaking appearance Thursday at the advertising-focused Cannes Lions. 

Netflix stock is trading at over $178 a share on the Nasdaq as of Wednesday early afternoon, up about 5% for the day ... but by more than 70% since January. 

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming company has made some pivots of late: it's working on a scheme in Latin America to crack down on password-sharers; and its developing a cheaper, partially ad-supported tier. 

Meanwhile, after laying off around 150 staffers last month, Netflix reportedly has plans to let more workers go this week. 

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!