Netflix wants to be the go-to destination for stand-up comedy specials. In the last couple of months, the company has inked deals with a number of high-profile performers such as Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Amy Schumer. The result? The streaming giant plans to stream a new special each week.
Netflix confirmed its plans to The Verge in an email. The streaming company is making a major push to double its original content this year to help fuel its subscriber growth. The result is that Netflix has essentially stolen the spotlight away from the more traditional homes for comedy special, such as HBO and Comedy Central. As Polygon pointed out last week, HBO released three specials in 2016, compared to Netflix’s 25.
The company has made a huge effort to bring in comedians, ranging from a reported $40 million for a pair of specials from Chris Rock, to a reported $100 million for Jerry Seinfeld’s entire series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in addition to a pair of stand-up specials.
Despite those high price tags, the push to increase comedy is also far cheaper than producing a television drama, which can cost hundreds of millions, according to Variety. By comparison, the company spends anywhere from $3 million to $10 million per special for “second tier comedians,” and $10–20 million for those with a higher profile.
With its lineup of comedians slated to appear in the coming months, it’s clear that Netflix’s efforts are no joke.