Netflix Inc. (NFLX) just scored a major contract with Michelle and Barack Obama to produce films and series for its direct-to-consumer media platform. As the Silicon Valley entertainment giant disrupts the traditional industry with its on-demand, subscription-based model, the company has showed its willingness to shell out for original content as it heads off against rivals such as Walt Disney Co. (DIS), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Hulu. (See also: How Hulu Stacks Up Against Netflix, Amazon.)
The multiyear deal with the former president and first lady may include scripted and unscripted series, as well as documentaries, docuseries and features and will be produced by their company, Higher Ground Productions. The former president said in a statement that the partnership will help him and his wife channel their passion for public service by allowing them share the experiences of "fascinating people from all walks of life," to a wider audience.
Netflix did not disclose financial terms of the arrangement, yet similar deals between streaming platforms and high-profile celebrities have had a price tag in the tens of millions of dollars. Netflix, which saw its stock soar on better-than-expected quarterly earnings results in mid-April, has over 125 million global subscribers and plans to spend $8 billion on original content in 2018. (See also: 2 Risks Facing Netflix's Rally.)
"That's why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix—we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world," said Obama. The former first lady applauded Netflix's "unparalleled service" as a "natural fit for the kind of series" that they hope to share.
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Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement that the high-profile couple is "uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better." According to The New York Times, which first reported on rumors of the contract in March, the former president has told associates that he does not intend to use the new platform to wage a public campaign against President Trump and his administration nor with conservative media outlets like Fox News.
Earlier this year, President Obama starred as a guest on David Letterman's Netflix show, "My Next Guest Needs to Introduction with David Letterman."