Netflix buys movie studio to further global ambitions

The world’s largest paid online TV network said it’s in final negotiations to purchase ABQ Studios

FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California, U.S., on October 14, 2014.   REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo                GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD
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Netflix is buying its first production studio, the New Mexico facility used to make The Avengers and Sicario, to accommodate its growing output of original movies and television shows.

The world's largest paid online TV network said it's in final negotiations to purchase ABQ Studios, with eight sound stages in Albuquerque, according to a statement on Monday. Terms for the deal were not revealed. Netflix already shoots the supernatural drama Chambers and the epic Messiah in New Mexico and previously shot its Emmy-winning series Godless there as well.

The acquisition further blurs the line between the streaming giant and a traditional Hollywood studio, with its sound stages, creative departments and theatrical distribution business. While the Los Gatos, California-based company will spend upward of $8 billion on moves and TV shows this year, most of that money funds projects made by other companies. Netflix, for instance, does not own The Crown or Orange Is the New Black.


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Yet the online service has also quickly increased its in-house production, turning out popular hits such as Stranger Things.

Los Angeles is the centre of Netflix’s burgeoning production business. Last week, the company said it leased a 13-story tower adjacent to its existing offices in Hollywood.

New Mexico offers tax incentives to attract productions. Together, the state and the city of Albuquerque will provide Netflix with $14.5 million in funding. Netflix said it will create up to 1,000 jobs a year and spend $1 billion on production over the next 10 years.

"Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,'' Ty Warren, Netflix's vice president of physical production, said.