Netflix CEO Says ‘Stranger Things’ Could Have Had ‘A Few More Episodes’ Without the Financial Burden of COVID

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the platform’s hit original series ‘Stranger Things’ could have lasted a few more episodes had it not been for the added costs. due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of the streaming service explained that season four of “Stranger Things,” which was released in two parts on May 27 and July 1, was more impacted financially than many other shows on the platform.

Pandemic costs ended up being around 5/10% of Netflix’s content spend on average. In 2022, Netflix will spend about $18 billion on content, up from $17 billion last year.

“If you did all of this again and took that off the top, you might even get a few more episodes out of it,” Sarandos said of “Stranger Things,” according to Deadline.

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The Stranger Things series logo displayed on a phone screen, the Netflix logo displayed on a laptop screen, and the silhouette of a woman in the background can be seen in this illustration photo. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on Netflix’s popular horror-drama series, but the show has always been credited with the platform not losing more subscribers.

The series’ split into two parts has kept fans stuck until the final two episodes are released in early July, and viewership data shows that subscribers are tuning in throughout the series, as season four surpassed one billion airtime hours.

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Man pressing the Netflix button on a TV remote, with Netflix streaming on a TV in the background, taken March 6, 2020. (Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Netflix had forecast a loss of 2 million subscribers in the second quarter, but results released on Tuesday reveal the streaming giant only suffered a drop of 970,000 subscribers.

Sarandos attributed the high cost of “Stranger Things” to several factors, including the different locations used in production and sometimes having to postpone operations due to pandemic restrictions.

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Cast of Netflix's Stranger Things

The cast of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” arrives at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California on January 19, 2020. (REUTERS/Monica Almeida)

“[Stranger Things] was probably affected like everything [by COVID-19] because of the young cast and the size and scope of the production and the multiple locations we shot,” Sarandos said.

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“It was a very expensive burden on the show to make sure we could deliver it,” he continued. “One of the catalysts for the split in the season was the length of time it took to produce this show and a lot of that was stalled due to early production shutdowns and being extremely careful with the cast of the show, at the start of COVID.”

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