Netflix Is Spending $30 Million/Episode On Stranger Things S4, Report Says
Stranger Things Season 4 could be among the most expensive seasons of TV ever produced.
The per-episode budget for Stranger Things Season 4 has reportedly been revealed, and the rumored figure is massive. According to sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix is spending $30 million per episode for the fourth season of the hit sci-fi show, which is very heavy on special effects.
Not all of Netflix's content costs this much to produce, of course. The company also produces "low-cost" shows that help balance out the heavy-hitters like Stranger Things, the report said, without naming any titles in the "low-cost" bucket. This information came to light as part of WSJ's story on Netflix's latest earnings briefing and how the company might cut costs to improve results amid a difficult financial time.
At $30 million per episode, Stranger Things Season 4 is one of the most expensive TV shows of all time. For comparison, the Halo TV series carries a budget of $10 million per episode. HBO's Game of Thrones, meanwhile, was said to have cost $10 million per episode for earlier seasons before rising to $15 million per episode for the final two seasons. Disney+'s Marvel TV shows are estimated to cost as much as $25 million per episode and are believed to be among the most expensive TV productions in the business.
Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 releases on May 27, 2022. The second wave of episodes releases on July 1, while a fifth and final season is coming later. Beyond that, spinoffs could follow to extend the wider Stranger Things universe.
In an effort to save money, Netflix is also reportedly looking to cut budgets on new shows by as much as 25%, the report said, again without naming any titles outright.
What's more, Netflix is looking to cut costs for its licensed content, the report said. Currently, Netflix reportedly pays more than the production cost of a licensed show in exchange for its long-term rights. This premium is said to be in the range of 20%-30% above the cost of production, but Netflix is now apparently looking to sign deals on a "flat fee model" so its costs don't go up if a show's budget increases.
In addition, Netflix is said to be "re-evaluating" contracts with star producers who make shows exclusively for Netflix because "results with such deals have been mixed," talent agents told WSJ.
What's more, Netflix is now considering offering an ad-based subscription tier to the Netflix lineup to help grow subscribers and revenue.
Earlier this week, Netflix confirmed it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the past three months and expects to lose 2 million more over the next few months. In terms of financials specifically, Netflix made $7.7 billion in revenue for the last quarter, which was up from $7.2 billion during the same period last year. Netflix's profit, meanwhile, slid from $1.7 billion to $1.6 billion for the latest quarter year-over-year.
Of its latest earnings results and disclosures about subscriber numbers, Netflix founder Reed Hastings said during a town hall meeting this week, "Well, it's a bitch," according to WSJ.
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