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Dan Lin’s Strategy for Netflix Films: Focus On Quality and Range

Netflix (NFLX)’s new film chief has already ushered in some structural changes to the streamer’s film strategy, indicating that the company no longer needs to prove itself as a top filmmaker. Under Dan Lin’s leadership, Netflix plans to increase the quality and range of its films to suit its audience of 260 million. According to The New York Times, both Lin and Netflix content chief Bela Bajaria are upgrading the streaming giant’s films. After former film head Scott Stuber announced he was stepping down in January, Bajaria is said to have told the studio’s staff that films needed to improve and that anyone uncomfortable with the changes should consider leaving the company.  

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Lin has not spoken about his plans for Netflix’s film sector yet, but he has already made changes to the department since starting at the beginning of the month. Reports show that he laid off around 15 staffers and reorganized the division by genre so that different department heads lead their groups of the categories:

  • Kira Goldberg, vice president of original studio film: Thrillers, dramas and family
  • Niija Kuykendall, vice president of film: Faith-based, young adult and holiday films
  • Ori Marmur, vice president of original studio film: Action, fantasy, horror and sci-fi
  • Jason Young, director of original film: Comedies and rom-coms

Netflix chief financial officer Spencer Neumann and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos have both said separately that the company doesn’t plan to change its film plans with the addition of Lin. In January, Sarandos said during Netflix’s earnings call for the December quarter that the company’s film division did not plan to change its “strategy or the mix.” In March, Neumann reiterated this at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference. 

“It’s not a change in strategy per se,” Neumann said. “We’re just continuing to kind of evolve and get better and Dan brings this amazing experience.” 

According to the New York Times, Lin is also looking to change how the company buys movies and the payment structure for the talent it works with, meaning it will stop throwing big bucks upfront just to attract A-listers.  Under Stuber’s leadership, Netflix used enormous budgets to bring big names like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg to make movies with the streamer. Scorsese’s The Irishman, for example, is estimated to have cost $160 million, with some reports saying closer to $200 million. 

Netflix planned to increase its content spend in 2024 to $17 billion from $13 billion in 2023. It seems that Lin will be using that bump to step away from big budget films and invest in the talent within the studio. The report from the Times also said that he wants his producers to be more “aggressive” and focus on developing their own material rather than waiting to be presented with projects. 


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