The upcoming fourth season of Netflix hit Stranger Things apparently sent the company piggy bank straight to the Upside Down.
The Wall Street Journal says the series' latest installment cost a whopping $30 million per episode, according to people close to the show.
News of Stranger Things' price tag arrives as Netflix battles a slew of newfound woes, including negative subscriber growth for the first time in over a decade and laggard revenues. Stock prices subsequently plummeted 35 percent in their second-worst one-day decline ever, "erasing $54 billion in market value," the Journal writes.
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"Well, it's a b---h," Netflix Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings reportedly said of the news, as he addressed employees on Wednesday afternoon.
For years, Netflix has made a name for itself by "prioritizing growth over cost efficiency." Now, the company is looking to rein itself in. Shows' budgets should start matching the size of their audience, Bela Bajaria, head of global TV and Netflix, said recently, per the Journal. The streamer is also looking to lower costs when licensing content from outside studios and production companies.
In terms of boosting revenue, the company already announced in January it would be raising prices in the U.S. and Canada. It's also exploring the addition of a lower-priced ad-supported subscription tier — something it has long opposed doing. And meanwhile, the company's hoping a crackdown on password sharing will further supplement subscriber numbers.
The streamer should be careful with that last bit, however, the Journal posits — though growth is paramount, alienating viewers by limiting password sharing "could be costly too."
Stranger Things Season 4, Part 1 will premiere on Netflix on May 27.
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