Netflix just tacked on another $1 billion to its content budget for next year

Michael Newberg | CNBC
Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix.

Netflix now says it will spend $7 billion to $8 billion on content in 2018, pushing expectations ever higher in the cut-throat content business.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos told Variety in an August article that Netflix would spend $7 billion on content next year — up from more than $6 billion over the past year and $5 billion in 2016.

"While we have multi-year deals in place preventing any sudden reduction in content licensing, the longterm trendss are clear. Our future largely lies in exclusive original content," the company said in a quarterly earnings report.

And competition is fiercer than ever, as companies like Disney and Apple move deeper into streaming.

By comparison, HBO spent $2 billion on content last year, CEO Richard Plepler told CNBC earlier this month. Plepler acknowledged that rights are getting more expensive, but noted that "[m]ore is not better."

"We're going to spend what we need to spend to spend to make sure we are creating outstanding programming, curating in a way that our brand continues to stand for excellence," Plepler said.

"With $17 billion in content commitments over the next several years and a growing library of owned content ... we remain quite comfortable with our ability to please our members around the world," Netflix said.

Netflix reported quarterly earnings on Monday.

Correction: Netflix increased its total content budget by $1 billion compared with previous estimates. It did not disclose how much of this increase would go to Netflix-original content.

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