CBx Daily

Netflix Increases Shonda Rhimes $100 Million Deal For A Bigger Stake In Culture

Jul 15

By CultureBanx Team

  • Netflix increases its deal with Shonda Rhimes to include gaming, merchandise, virtual reality and live events
  • Pandemic growth catapulted Netflix 208 million subscribers globally

Netflix (NFLX +0.98%) is making huge plans with its original content offerings in hopes of wading deeper into diverse audiences by increasing its deal with showrunner legend Shonda Rhimes. The multiyear deal includes new media formats beyond TV and movies, and into gaming, merchandise, virtual reality and live events. Netflix has been mired with diversity issues, and an expanded deal with Rhimes will also include financial support for a diversity initiative launched by her Shondaland company aimed at increasing the numbers of women and people of color in the entertainment industry.

Why This Matters: Rhimes first signed a multi-year deal to produce content for the streaming platform in 2017 for a reported $100 million, following a long run at ABC where she created the hit shows “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal,”  and “How To Get Away With Murder”. She was one of the first big TV producers to be lured to Netflix. Her most recent cultural phenomenon “Bridgerton,” a modern twist on a Jane Austen-style historical romance, debuted more than three years after she first signed her deal, becoming a huge hit for Netflix with three more seasons having already been ordered.

A report from Horowitz Research found Black audiences are also content trendsetters, with 58% reporting they want to be the first to know about new content and are more likely to watch shows that reflect their experiences. Also, 74% of Black TV viewers reported they stream some of their TV content. Facts like these explain why Netflix has made Black content and talent a focal point of its original programming initiatives.

What’s Next: Netflix’s pandemic growth that catapulted it 208 million subscribers around the world may be slowing as lockdown requirements start to ease up. In Q1 the streaming behemoth added four million new subscribers, a number that was 40% lower than the six million it had forecast and analysts were expecting. Terms of Rhimes agreement weren’t disclosed, but she will continue to be one of the highest-paid creators at Netflix.

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