Netflix has prided itself on being builders over buyers but that’s begun to change in recent years with the streaming service acquiring a host of different companies and IP. Below, we’ll look at every content IP acquisition, animation/VFX studio, game studio, and property acquisition in its history.
Like some of our other extensive lists, such as our comprehensive deal list, this list will be updated over time, so keep it bookmarked. It was first published in March 2022 and was last updated in July 2022.
This category is no doubt the most exciting to consumers. Content is the name of the game for streaming services, and companies like Walt Disney and Amazon have beefed up their libraries and IP with their acquisitions of 20th Century Fox and MGM, respectively. It’s also the most disappointing for Netflix so far, in our opinion.
While we could get into semantics about what specifically counts as content acquisition, we’re specifically talking about IP or studios bought into Netflix rather than just acquiring licenses to stream specific content or exclusive distributions.
Acquired in: August 2017
Mark Millar is a renowned Scottish comic book writer who cut his teeth at the likes of DC and Marvel. In 2004, Millar started his own publisher creating titles like Kick-Ass and Kingsman which have been successfully adapted for the big screen.
In its acquisition, Netflix acquired the publisher and the rights to produce new TV and movies. 17 franchises were established before being sold to Netflix. Since Netflix bought Millarworld, that number is now sitting at 24 franchises.
2022 will mark the fifth year of Millarworld being under Netflix and so far, they’ve released two Netflix Original series (Jupiter’s Legacy and Supercrooks) and at least 8 new comic entries.
There’s plenty more on the way too as we look into via our Millarworld preview.
Date Acquired: May 2019
On the kid’s front, Netflix picked up the StoryBots franchise from JibJab Bros. Studios and signed up Evan and Gregg Spiridellis to overall deals at the service back in May 2019.
Since the acquisition, A StoryBots Space Adventure and StoryBots: Laugh, Learn, Sing have been released onto the service.
The Roald Dahl Story Company
Acquired in: September 2021
Roald Dahl is the late British novelist who wrote books primarily aimed at children and have sold a quarter a billion copies worldwide. Netflix already had a pact with The Roald Dahl Story Company but tied the knot in September 2021.
According to the press release, the deal means Netflix will have publishing rights to all of the back catalog and seeks a “the creation of a unique universe across animated and live-action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theatre, consumer products and more.”
Studio Netflix Acquisitions
Acquired in: November 2021
Scanline VFX, established in 1989, is a VFX company with offices in Vancouver, Montreal, Los Angeles, London, Munich, Stuttgart, and Seoul.
The VFX studio has worked on several Netlfix projects up until the acquisition, including Cowboy Bebop, Blood Red Sky, The Adam Project, and Stranger Things season 4.
Acquired in: July 2022 (expected to close in late 2022)
Netflix’s animation output has steadily been growing over the years with most Netflix Originals in the genre either bought in from other studios or produced internally at Netflix Animation.
Animal Logic was their first major acquisition in the space with the studio best known for working on Peter Rabbit 1 and 2 for Sony and The Lego Movies.
The acquisition came alongside the Q2 2022 investor letter. The studios first projects for Netflix includes The Magician’s Elephant and The Shrinking of Treehorns.
Netflix Gaming Acquisitions
Netflix’s gaming ambitions at the time of publishing are still yet to be fully realized. A crack team has been put together but Netflix has already made two early movies in the space as we’ll come onto in a second.
Night School Studio LLC
Acquired in: September 2021
The first major acquisition for Netflix games came a couple months before games even were available on the service. Night School Studio is the first gaming studio to come under Netflix’s umbrella. They’re known for OXENFREE.
According to the Night School Studio press release, they sold to Netflix because the service “gives film, TV, and now game makers an unprecedented canvas to create and deliver excellent entertainment to millions of people.”
Acquired in: March 2022
Netflix will be picking up mobile game studio Next Games for 65 million euros. The Finnish studio has worked with Netflix before. They notably worked on and released Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales.
Acquired in: March 2022
Also purchased in March 2022 was the mobile game studio headquartered in Texas, Boss Fight Entertainment. The studio is best known for its mobile game Dungeon Boss.
Acquired in: October 2022
Behind Alphabear, Road Not Taken, Triple Town, and Cozy Grove, the independent developer is primarily based out of Seattle but has employees worldwide. The company was founded in 2010.
At the time of acquisition, Spry Fox would become Netflix’s sixth internal games studio.
In a blog post on Spry Fox’s website, they outline what the acquisition means for them, saying:
“We can continue making the games that we were already making and wanted to make, but with more support and resources to make those games better and bring them to more people around the world.
We can stop stressing about how our games generate profit on our games and instead focus exclusively on making them as enjoyable and fulfilling to our players as possible.
We can collaborate with other creative people within Netflix to hopefully get better at what we do and how we do it.”
Acquired in: October 2018
Netflix mostly leases studio space around the globe but it opted to purchase the studio back in 2018. The studio has nine sound stages, production offices, and a backlot.
According to a further report from Variety, Netflix picked up the studio for $30 million which is around 3 times less than what it cost to build.
Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre
Acquired in: May 2020
First opened in 1922, Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre has a unique part in Los Angeles and Hollywood history.
Netflix notably holds many of its TV and movie premieres at the Egyptian Theatre since its acquisition, such as the premiere for Locke & Key season 2.
Netflix’s head of films at the time of the acquisition announcement said:
“We’re honored to partner with the American Cinematheque to preserve the theater’s storied legacy and continue providing remarkable film experiences for audiences. We look forward to expanding programming at the theater in ways that will benefit both cinema lovers and the community.”
This is the second theatre in the United States Netflix has a vested interest in. It also secured a long-term lease deal for New York’s Paris Theatre.
What should Netflix acquire next? Let us know in the comments or alternatively read one industry expert’s opinions on what to acquire next here.