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Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told several senior executives last month that spending on film and TV projects, particularly big budget movies, needed to be more cost-effective, The Information reports.

Why it matters: Netflix's heavy spending has set the bar for all of the other streamers looking to challenge it. But Sarandos reportedly said that big-budget projects need to bring in lots of viewers, not just drive buzz.

The big picture: In the past, Netflix used "a ratio of their cost to a measure of viewership that gives more weight to new subscribers and those viewed at risk of canceling," The Information's Jessica Toonkel, Tom Dotan and Beejoli Shah write.

Be smart: Matthew Ball, former head of strategy at Amazon Studios, argues that this is not a sign of trouble for Netflix, but rather a sign of maturation.

  • He says Netflix for a long time needed to focus on creating enough scale to add as many users as possible. Now that it's achieved that, Ball argues it can be pickier.

What's next: There's been a lot of talk about whether companies that make content and own streaming services would eventually pull their titles in favor of their own platforms.

  • NBC said last week that 'The Office' would leave Netflix in 2020 to stream exclusively on NBCUniversal's forthcoming streaming service.
  • Yes, but: Over the weekend, news broke that DC Entertainment, which is owned by AT&T's Warner Bros., would license its new series for its hit comic Sandman to Netflix for a pretty price, proving that theory wrong.

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
57 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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