Netflix Will Soon Pass ESPN To Have The Biggest Budget In TV

It’s no secret that Netflix has been spending a lot on content in the past few years, but just how much may be surprising. According to a report , Netflix is spending so much money on their shows and movies that they’ll soon have the biggest budget in television.

ESPN has been TV’s biggest spender for years now, doling out over $7 billion each year for the rights to MLB games, Monday Night Football, and the like. Of course, live sports are expensive, so the expenditure is expected. But Netflix is catching up fast, and is poised to pass them next year.

In 2017, it’s estimated that Netflix will spend a little over $6 billion on content. But based on their current growth (and comments from their CEO where he says that number will grow) they should pass the ESPN in 2018 and pass the $8 billion mark by 2020. “As we grow the membership base, we want to grow the current budget,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said at the Code Conference this week in California.

Hastings also recently called what Amazon is doing “scary,” and said they’d be ramping up their spending to compete. He added that his company would be spending a lot more, and that they wouldn’t be afraid to fail. He noted that Netflix should be “canceling a lot more shows” as they keep searching for hits.

These haven’t been the best of days for ESPN with their massive layoffs, or for the cable TV industry in general as they turn in their worst period ever. As subscribers are leaving traditional television by the thousands, there are going to have to be budget cutbacks to compensate. And as streaming services like Netflix are just hitting their stride, there’s about to be a huge influx of money they have to spend.

It’s certainly an interesting time to be a cord cutter, as television will never be the same again.

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Artie Beaty

Artie Beaty is a freelance writer from North Carolina who follows the world of streaming closely on a daily basis. Contact him at or on Twitter @AboutCharlotte.
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