Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos Reveals 2024 Content Focus and Budget

Documentaries like "Beckham" have shown Netflix a pathway forward with unscripted content.

(L-R) Ted Sarandos, Chief Executive Officer of Netflix, Adam Sandler, Bill Burr, Karen Toliver, VP of Animation Film, Netflix and Scott Stuber, Chairman of Netflix Film
(L-R) Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Adam Sandler, Bill Burr, Karen Toliver, VP of Netflix’s Animation Film, and Scott Stuber, chairman of Netflix Film. Getty Images

Netflix (NFLX) co-CEO Ted Sarandos estimates the streaming giant’s spending on content creation will rise to $17 billion in 2024, a 30 percent jump from this year’s $13 billion (which fell short of budget by around $1 billion due to the Hollywood strikes). Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference yesterday (Dec. 4) in New York City, Sarandos said two of Netflix’s focuses going forward will be unscripted, local language television and animated films. 

In Netflix’s last quarterly earnings report, Sandaros spoke about the success of animated shows and films on the streaming platform, saying there’s an unfulfilled demand for the genre. At yesterday’s event, he pointed out that according to data analytics firm Nielsen, eight of the ten most watched movies right now are animated. One of Netflix’s latest animated offerings, Leo, produced by Adam Sandler, was the most-watched film on the platform during the November week it was released.

“There’s plenty of appetite for more than the few films a year that we’re currently doing,” Sarandos said at the UBS conference. The current original animation slate from Netflix includes nine features and short films. The streamer signed a multi-year deal with Skydance Animation in October to produce two additional feature films, Spellbound and Pookoo, in the next two years.  

Sarandos noted Netflix is in its fourth year of making unscripted content and that the next phase will be local language unscripted content, like the Beckham documentary about David and Victoria Beckham, which has claimed the highest viewer rating in the U.K. this year of all Netflix shows. Its new reality series, South Korea’s Physical 100, has also proven audience interest in this type of content, according to Sarandos. 

Netflix also seemed to find its stride in content licensing this year and, as a result, pulled back on producing original films, which Sarandos said the company was previously doing at an “aggressive pace.” Netflix adds value to shows that it licenses, such as Suits. “We added a ton of value to that IP,” Sarandos said. “So the creators get a bunch of benefit from it, the owners of the IP a bunch of benefit, and more importantly, the fans get a bunch of benefit from having the show that otherwise would have disappeared into obscurity.”

Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos Reveals 2024 Content Focus and Budget