Netflix to spend $500m on new UK-made films and TV shows in battle with Disney+ and Apple TV

Streamer will additionally lure big names via expensive ‘golden handcuff’ deals

Adam White
Friday 20 September 2019 18:42
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The Crown season 3 trailer

Netflix is to spend $500m (£400m) on new British content in 2020, in a further attempt to see off competition from looming streaming services Disney+ and Apple TV.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society conference, Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings said that the UK will play an important role in the future of the company, building on the success of UK-produced series including The Crown, Black Mirror and Sex Education.

Along with taking over Shepperton Studios, where a majority of UK Netflix content will eventually be filmed, Netflix is pumping $500m into Netflix UK’s production budget, helping it become the marketplace with the second-highest annual budget after the US.

Hastings also suggested that Netflix will continue to lure audiences by signing lucrative “golden handcuff” deals with top talent, who will then produce content exclusively for the service.

Netflix has previously signed production deals with US super-producers including Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes, though neither at this point have been restricted from producing content for rival networks or streaming services.

Netflix is preparing itself for a wave of rival services launching in the next six months.

Notable new services include Disney+, which will be home to series and spin-off movies related to the Marvel and Star Wars universes, and Apple TV, which will launch with The Morning Show, a high-profile new drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

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