Netflix will spend $17 billion on content this year as pandemic restrictions loosen and production resumes

Netflix is grappling with a dip in content after production was stalled due to pandemic-driven delays in 2020.
Netflix said it will spend over $17 billion "in cash" on content this year, according to a Tuesday letter to shareholders.

The company said that expense is contingent upon the continued vaccine roll-out around the world and the safe return to scheduled production. Netflix also said it will "continue to deliver an amazing range of titles for our members with more originals this year than last."

The streaming giant has seen a dip in original content releases on its platform since production was delayed for much of 2020 due to pandemic safety protocols. Original Netflix programs specifically have fallen by 20% since this time last year.

Netflix cited the dip in original programs as a reason for why it saw a downturn in new subscriber growth during Q1 2021 after seeing record growth in 2020. The streaming giant added less than 4 million customers in the first few months of the year and said it will add just 1 million new paid members in Q2.

But Netflix said in its shareholder letter that it anticipates paid membership growth to "re-accelerate" in the second half of the year "with the return of new seasons of some of our biggest hits and an exciting film lineup," including "a large number of returning franchises."

Popular programs planned for the back half of 2021 include "Sex Education," "The Witcher," "You," "The Kissing Booth" finale, "Red Notice" starring Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, and "Don't Look Up."