As Netflix prepares to debut its first original series this week, the company is already looking forward with plans to expand its lineup of original programming.
Netflix plans to raise $400 million by selling eight-year “senior debt notes,” the movie and TV streaming service announced Jan. 29. About $225 million will be used to refinance the company’s existing debt, while the rest is intended for “general corporate purposes” including investments, potential future acquisitions, and other strategic corporate transactions.
Specifically, Netflix needs to continue acquiring licenses to stream films and TV shows, and also hopes to invest further in its own original content. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a note to shareholders last week that the money “would give us additional reserves as well as increased flexibility to fund future originals.”
Netflix’s newest original offering, David Fincher’s remake of the BBC miniseries “House of Cards,” stars Kevin Spacey as a politician who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. All 13 episodes of the show’s first season will be available to stream on Netflix as of Feb. 1.
Other soon-to-launch series include horror auteur Eli Roth’s “Hemlock Grove”; “Orange is the New Black,” a female prison drama from “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan; and new episodes of “Arrested Development.” Shooting has also begun on a second season of the Netflix co-production “Lilyhammer,” starring Steven Van Zandt as a New York gangster who relocates to Norway, while Ricky Gervais’ new series “Derek” will premiere exclusively on Netflix in the U.S. this year.
“The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, recently told GQ. Of the $6 billion that Sarandos reportedly has available to spend over the next three years—mostly to license content from movie studios and television networks—about $300 million has been earmarked for original programming, according to GQ. Sarandos hopes to launch five new series per year.
And during a recent call with investors, David Wells, Netflix’s chief financial officer, said that if these upcoming original series are successful, raising additional funding gives the company flexibility “to expand that program, and to develop more down the road.” He added, “This is about long-term planning for the business.”