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How Much Money Netflix's Content Is Actually Worth

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Every year, Netflix subscribers enjoy the plethora of new TV shows, movies, comedy specials and documentaries that the company has been producing and acquiring since breaking into the streaming game. But while it's widely reported just how much moolah Netflix takes out in loans in order to pay for its fairly massive content library, it's not quite as well known just what that content library is actually worth. Well, we now have a pretty good estimation on what that worth comes out to, and it looks like Netflix towers above all others with about $11 billion worth of entertainment.

I legitimately can't picture what $11 billion would look like in physical form, since zeroes are a lot easier to conceive than stacks of hundred-dollar bills. And that massive total isn't exactly surprising in-context, since we all know that Netflix has been spending billions of dollars every year in developing new projects, acquiring currently airing TV shows, reviving previously cancelled TV shows, and renewing seasons for the host of series that are already part of the current content slate. And for what it's worth, about $1.7 billion of that comes from the programming that Netflix owns full global rights to.

Let's do some comparisons now, to prove just how ridiculously massive this number is. Time Warner, subject of some of the biggest mergers in history, is in second place with a content library worth around $10 billion. A full billion bucks separates them. The numbers go way down after that, with Viacom taking up the third spot with $4.9 billion, Discovery with $2.4 billion, AMC with $1.5 billion and Scripps with $1.1 billion. Not bad for a company that made its name mailing out DVDs.

One has to wonder if or how this $11 billion total was affected at all by Netflix's recent decisions to throw big, expensive and lower-rated shows on the chopping block, rather than doubling down and trying to bring more viewers in. Without knowing how Wall Street analysts at Morgan Stanley (via Variety) put a worth to overwhelmingly expensive and under-performing series like The Get Down and Marco Polo, it's hard to gauge if that worth is brought down at all by the lack of future seasons to retain interest.

On the flip side of that, the Marvel shows (or most of them) are likely worth a crapload of dough. Not just because they're based on comic book properties from one of the biggest juggernauts in entertainment -- character pun fully intended -- but because the very first announcement of the Marvel shows' existence guaranteed five different series would come out of it. That kind of dedicated investment, strengthened by the multiple season orders for several of them -- definitely pays off with the fanbase, and there are no doubt people who subscribe to Netflix specifically for those exclusive projects.

Of course, just because Netflix's content is worth $11 billion, don't go thinking it's any kind of profit for the company. Netflix is quite publicly recognized for its somewhat bizarre financial practices, as it continues to build up its debts annually. But now that it's known just how much Netflix is sitting on, some analysts aren't quite so doomy about its chances to get returns on its myriad investments at some point.

Netflix is constantly releasing new and returning series, and you can keep tabs on all of them with our 2017 programming schedule, and you can see everything else heading to the small screen with our summer TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.