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Netflix buys its first studio in New Mexico and promises $1B of film and TV projects

Published Oct 8th, 2018 7:26PM EDT
Netflix growth
Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

It is a truth universally accepted that the strongest digital companies of the Internet age are increasingly trying to be more like the real-world counterparts they’ve eclipsed. And, ironically, vice versa.

It’s why we see Amazon, for example, moving into the world of bricks-and-mortar retail by opening book stores and convenience stores of its own. Legacy retailers like Walmart and Target are likewise ramping up Amazon-like aspects of their own offerings, with more convenient shipping and pickup options as well as improving their digital experiences. To beat my enemy, I must become him — or something like that.

And now here’s Netflix, which despite whatever you think about the service, good or bad, has certainly forced and film and TV content providers of all stripes to rethink their game plans. The streaming giant has also done a number on Hollywood, increasingly paying whatever it takes to woo creators and acting talent away from the traditional studio system. Which brings us to an announcement today from Netflix, now in final talks to buy ABQ Studios in Albuquerque’s Mesa Del Sol. For those of you keeping score, that purchase would give Netflix its first production studio complex, making the company more closely resemble the studio behemoths it ran circles around in the early 2000s on the road to streaming supremacy.

Owning such a complex is something Netflix has never had before, even though it’s gotten plenty of use out of things like the soundstage facility it leases that’s adjacent to the company’s Los Angeles headquarters. Meanwhile, in tandem with the company’s announcement comes this news that’s equally as big — Netflix also says it’s planning to bring $1 billion in film and TV productions to New Mexico over the next decade, in addition to creating up to 1,000 production jobs, as a result of the studio purchase.

From the announcement today: “Netflix will produce film and television series in the new facility and at locations around the state, including irreverent apocalypse dramedy Daybreak, supernatural drama Chambers and epic, suspenseful drama MessiahChambers and Messiah are currently being produced in the Albuquerque area; both productions have provided jobs for over 700 New Mexican crew members. Previous Netflix productions in New Mexico include the Emmy Award-winning limited series GodlessThe Ridiculous Six and Longmire.”

Major productions that have used ABQ Studios in the past to film there include The Avengers, The Lone Ranger and Sicario. The studio complex includes eight soundstages, plus production offices, mill space and a back lot. The complex also offers a variety of production support from in-house lighting and grip to equipment rental.

“The people, the (New Mexico) landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy,” said Ty Warren, vice president of physical production for Netflix.

In honor of today’s ABQ Studios news, here’s a fun, slightly related bit of pop culture trivia that Breaking Bad fans will appreciate. The GPS coordinates for where fictional drug kingpin Walter White buried his barrels full of cash at one point during the show are +34° 59′ 20.00″, -106° 36′ 52″. Rather than the middle of the desert, they lead you to — drumroll, please — Netflix’s new complex, ABQ Studios itself.

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.