Netflix Plans 30 New Anime As Part Of 50% Original Library In 2018

neo yokio netflix
Neo Yokio on Netflix. (c) Netflix

Netflix is making it clear that it is willing to burn money in its pursuit of content ownership, announcing plans to spend $8 billion on original TV and films. Netflix shared this information during a video call with analysts this Monday, when Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos stated that a hefty share of that $8 billion will go towards producing 30 new anime series and 80 original films slated for a 2018 release.

“We have more than 30 original anime projects in various states of production these days, just to give you some sense of scale,” said Sarandos. “We’re producing at larger and larger scale, inside the U.S, outside the U.S. On the movie side, this quarter we produced eight original films. We plan on 80 coming up this year.”

The company aims for 50 percent original content in its library by the end of next year, part of the streaming service’s long-term plans for controlling its own destiny. The team cited low international production cost, ease of coding and the international appeal of foreign-language content as some of the reasons for exploring anime as an avenue for growth.

Last month, Netflix debuted its first original anime series, Neo Yokio , a baffling yet endearing venture featuring Jaden Smith’s vocal talents in Ezra Koenig’s meme-infused fever dream. Netflix has also had success with exclusive licensing agreements for shows like Knights of Sidonia and Ajin: Demi-Human .

“You take something like anime, which is super-efficient from a coding perspective,” Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said. “We can now provide an amazing quality — video quality experience on mobile for anime titles at 150 kilobits per second, which is practically unheard of previously.”

“I’d say on the international originals, we enjoy a lot of production efficiencies in producing outside of the United States,” Sarandos added, specifically citing the 30 original anime projects in the Netflix pipeline. “So we can produce in higher volume and bring kind of higher and higher production standards to those markets. So we’ve been really thrilled with our ability to do that.”

Neo Yokio and live-action adaptation Death Note may be just the beginning for Netflix. At the 2017 Anime Slate event, Netflix announced a slew of exclusive original anime titles coming in 2018, including Baki, Cannon Busters, Fate/Apocrypha, Kakegurui, Saint Seiya and more.

"You add up all of that viewing, it represents a significant opportunity for the category," said Peters. "We expect to grow anime viewing, here in Japan and the rest of the world as we continue to invest in high-quality content."

Netflix’s strategy seems particularly apt as companies like Disney withdraw from Netflix to launch their own streaming services. That partnership ends in 2019, but if Netflix crams your queue full of original programming, losing such partnerships might not be as damaging as one might imagine.

Netflix also recently acquired Millarworld, the independent publishing house from Mark Millar that can bring superheroes to Netflix without Disney and Marvel’s involvement. (Millar noted on his personal blog that Kick-Ass and Kingsman have their own Hollywood deals, excluding them from this acquisition.) That press release noted that Millar will “continue to create and publish new stories and character franchises under the Netflix label,” making Millarworld another fork in Netflix’s original programming strategy.

“We had three different films released this quarter, that if viewing was buying a movie ticket, would be sizeable successes in Death Note, Naked and To The Bone , and probably very little audience crossover between them. That’s the benefit of the steady output of great new original programming coming nearly every day on Netflix,” said Sarandos.

Ultimately, Netflix hopes to create content its subscribers can’t find anywhere else rather than remain beholden to complicated and costly licensing agreements. Netflix original content can remain exclusive to Netflix forever, which is not the case for other shows. “We just have to focus on creating content that our members can’t live without and get excited about every month,” said Sarandos.

What do you think about Netflix’s commitment to producing original anime? Are you ready for adding the increased Netflix subscription cost to that of your Amazon Strike, Crunchyroll, Hulu and Funimation subscriptions? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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