Netflix Wins Bid To Build New Production Studios
For better or worse, 2022 was a big year for Netflix. As we have reported on eCoustics throughout the year, the streaming giant has had an active year, starting off with raising subscription prices, losing subscribers, and instituting a lower-priced ad-based subscription tier.
However, despite a year of ups and downs, throughout 2022, Netflix has been planning to increase its video production capacity via a studio complex planned for location at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Under the terms approved by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), Netflix has agreed to buy Fort Monmouth’s “Mega Parcel” for $55 million.
Netflix is projecting to invest about $850 million to build a production facility that is expected to include 12 sound stages supported by additional production spaces and back lots. Netflix will also shoot on location around the state of New Jersey when needed.
From Rajiv Dalal, Netflix’s director of content & studio affairs in discussing the new Fort Monmouth facilities: “This will be a key focal point for us and it will be our East Coast production hub…”
Netflix estimates the new production operation will generate between $7.4 billion and $8.9 billion over the next 20 years. The presence of the facility is expected to contribute between $3.8 to $4.6 billion to New Jersey’s economy during the 20-year time period.
Netflix estimates as many as 3,500 jobs will be added during the construction phase with 1,400 and 2,200 jobs to be the standard level of employment once the Monmouth facility is operational.
Note: Netflix has indicated that it sees the Fort Monmouth facility as an expansion of its production infrastructure which already includes studios in Brooklyn, Georgia, New Mexico, and Toronto, which are expected to stay operational.
According to a statement by Ted Sarandos, Netflix Co-CEO and Chief Content Officer: “We’re thrilled to continue and expand our significant investment in New Jersey and North America.”
Although Netflix can now move ahead with its plans, they still have to secure local permits and other approvals before the sale can be technically closed. It’s expected that process will take about 36 months. The actual construction timetable has not been finalized.
Netflix has indicated that it plans to dedicate the entire site to the production facility. However, there are areas, such as the parade grounds, that must remain open spaces, as was laid out in the fort’s master re-use plan. It is also being reported that Netflix may include administrative areas, warehouses, workshops, and some residential housing.
Netflix has indicated there will make an effort to preserve monuments and parade grounds. Additional public access via walking trails is also expected to be included.
EIC Ian White lives less than 2 miles from the proposed Netflix studio at Fort Monmouth and has followed the story for eCoustics going back to the pandemic when rumors began to circulate in the local arts communities in Asbury Park, Long Branch, and Red Bank that Netflix officials were spotted touring the former U.S. Army base with New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy.
“Ft. Monmouth will always be a huge part of the history of the Shore. It played a key role in WW II and was a major SIGINT facility for over 60 years. When the base closed, it took thousands of personnel with it to Aberdeen, Maryland. The impact on the area was rather significant and because the existing empty base crosses over into multiple towns — it became a major issue for the local economy,” according to EIC Ian White.
“This part of the Jersey Shore is less than 55 miles from NYC and is accessible via ferry, NJ Transit, and the Garden State Parkway. Monmouth County witnessed a huge influx of people from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island during the pandemic and while a lot of those people still work on Wall Street or in Brooklyn — the area has a massive arts community and strong base of media professionals,” added White.
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