Netflix vs. Studio Salaries

Netflix vs. Studio Salaries

Netflix and similar streaming services have virtually taken over the film and television industry, especially in the COVID-19 era. And even before the pandemic, more and more people were “cutting cables” and switching to Netflix. Over time, they had more money to produce higher-quality programming with more recognizable talent. But how do Netflix vs. Studio salaries compare?

Netflix vs. Studio Salaries

Netflix releases an average of 90 original films each year (200+ hours of watch time). Because people don’t even have to leave the house to watch them, more often than not these movies are being streamed millions of times. This gives Netflix the ability to pay actors more.

How much more, you ask? Well, enough to persuade some actors to leave the studio altogether, according to Cheatsheet.

When you look at Netflix vs. Studio salaries, there really is no comparison. Studios typically pay actors between $15 million and $20 million for film roles. Whereas Netflix is more agreeable to paying more for talent. In fact, most well-known actors, like Ryan Reynolds, are being paid $27 million or more to appear in Netflix originals.

For some of its movies, Netflix has budgeted $200 million or more for production. Last year, the streaming service spent $12 billion on content creation alone and that number is projected to increase.

The Downside of Working With Netflix

While the higher pay has won many actors and actresses over, there are some downsides of working with Netflix over a studio. In many cases, the performers are missing out on potential residual income. Netflix does not offer payouts to actors or actresses, no matter how popular something is.

Studios, on the other hand, will pay performers residuals from the film. If it does really well, this can mean a huge payday for the actors at hand. In the event the film does poorly though, Netflix provides a bit more financial security with an additional $7+ million.

Highest Paid Netflix Actors

Most recently, the Netflix film Red Notice got quite a bit of attention because of its high-priced acting bill. Ryan Reynolds would be paid $27 million for his role. Gal Gadot and Dwayne Johnson would be paid $20 million each. These are some of the highest salaries we’ve seen from the streaming service yet.

Additionally, actors and actresses who perform on original series that takes off, like Stranger Things, are able to rake in $250,000+ per episode. Even if the series is just getting started, they can offer $20,000 per episode or more starting out.

Actors Aren’t the Only Ones Leaving Studios

Actors and actresses aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of higher pay either. The salaries at Netflix, in general, are 25 to 50% higher than those offered at studios. It uses three titles to label executives: managers, directors, and vice presidents. Managers typically make $150,000 to $400,000 per year. Directors earn $400,000 to $800,000 annually and vice presidents can earn $1 million or more each year.

“It’s not comparable to anywhere else,” an insider told Hollywood Reporter. “It’s like play money.” Even entry-level workers, such as assistants make $70,000 to $80,000 starting out. Executive assistants and coordinators can earn an annual salary of $100,000+. This has just about everyone interested in working in entertainment scrambling to work with Netflix.

How Can Netflix Pay More for Top Talent?

That being said, take note of the insider quote above. “It’s like play money.”

There is no doubt Netflix is a success, with millions of subscribers worldwide. Because it is really the first service of its kind though, it is difficult to really know how long they can keep up paying employees and performers at such a high rate.

The company does have an open pay rate policy that allows everyone at a certain level to see what other individuals in the company are paying. While Netflix hasn’t commented on this directly, employees can view other employees’ salaries, bonuses, and raises. Whether this is transparent or troublesome is questionable, just as is their ability to continue paying such high salaries.

Readers, what do you think about Netflix vs Studio salaries? What would you choose as an actor, actress, or executive? 

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