Netflix is carrying $20 billion in debt. Can it keep borrowing its way to success?
When Netflix was founded, the Internet was young, DVDs were popular and no one considered watching a movie streamed online.
Twenty years later, Netflix’s transformation from an underdog DVD-by-mail service to Hollywood powerhouse — one that has redefined how TV and movies are produced and consumed — has been remarkable.
The global streaming giant today boasts some impressive stats: 104 million subscribers worldwide, up 25% from last year and almost quadruple from five years ago. Its series and movies account for more than a third of all prime-time download Internet traffic in North America. Its more than 50 original shows garnered 91 Emmy Award nominations this year, second only to premium cable service HBO.
But there’s another set of numbers that could spell trouble for the company’s breakneck growth. Netflix has accumulated a hefty $20.54 billion in long- and short-term debt in its effort to produce more original content. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company hopes more new shows will capture more subscribers, its primary revenue driver. It’s also under pressure to keep spending on new shows as streaming rivals such as Amazon and Hulu expand their own slates of original programming.
Read more from the Los Angeles Times here.