Netflix is spending $6 billion on content this year and 'a lot more' in future, CEO says

Key Points
  • Netflix is spending $6 billion on original content this year, and plenty more in the future.
  • The company doesn't mind debuting streaming and theatrical versions on the same day.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Netflix plans to spend $6 billion on original content in 2017, and that number is going up "a lot" in the future, CEO Reed Hastings told CNBC.

"As we grow the membership base, we want to grow the current budget," Hastings said on Wednesday, at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. "There are so many great shows we don't have yet."

More shows and movies are needed to continue adding subscribers, Hastings said. That includes paying up for originals.

Netflix paid $60 million for Brad Pitt's "War Machine," which it released in theaters and on demand at the same time. Big movie theater chains have been reluctant to screen movies that appear on streaming services on the same date, but Hastings said consumer demand may change that in the future.

"We hope that over time that the theaters will wake up and say we should provide consumer choice," he said.

Competition from other streaming services and premium networks, which also are seeking original content, has driven up costs.

"It's been great for talent and writers," said Hastings. "There is so much competition. All the new players and the existing players like HBO are beginning to grow. It is this new age of television."

Netflix has kept its base monthly price at $7.99 for eight years. Hastings didn't say if it will increase prices in the future.