Netflix to raise another $1.5B to fuel massive content pipeline

Netflix series The Crown
Netflix' original series The Crown, which debuted in 2016, is a major hit. (Netflix)

Netflix has announced plans to raise a hefty $1.5 billion through a bond offering and said it will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including new content.

It’s the second time in a year the streaming giant has tapped the public debt market to raise fresh cash for its massive content machine, where a stream of acquisitions has been by flanked by an ever-growing number of original productions including series, films and specials. 

Last October, Netflix raised $1.6 billion to feed its content pipeline.

During the company’s latest earnings call, founder and CEO Reed Hastings mentioned the expansion into movies in particular, giving a shoutout to "The Cloverfield Paradox"—a sci-fi pic that hit the service directly after the Super Bowl. 

The company said earlier this month that it will spend up to $8 billion on content in 2018. That includes local language productions, which are helping to boost subscriber numbers around the world and successfully being exported to other markets. After a surge in popularity of foreign shows like "Babylon Berlin," the streaming service has ordered seven original Netflix international series, two documentaries, and one feature film across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.

Consumer are apparently loving it. In its quarterly earnings report earlier this month, the company said it had added 7 million subscribers—1.96 million subs in the U.S. and 5.46 million in the rest of the world—beating Wall Street’s expectations.  

The company also anticipates adding 1.2 million domestic subscribers and another five million subscribers outside the U.S for the current second quarter.

Revenue for the first three months of the year surged 43%, the fastest growth the company has seen since it moved into streaming, according to Recode, and executives see the trend continuing.

While it doesn't worry Wall Street, content spending is also inflating Netflix’ debt. It stood at $6.5 billion at the end of the first quarter, when the company told investors it would “continue to raise debt as needed to fund our increase in original content.”