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Netflix wants to borrow another $1 billion to pay for original movies and TV shows

Brad Pitt doesn’t work for free.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Netflix has more than 94 million subscribers around the world. But that’s not enough to pay for all the TV shows and movies those subscribers watch.

So Netflix is borrowing money, again.

The streaming video company says it will raise 1 billion euros — $1.08 billion — via a debt offering to fund its original content ambitions.

The move isn’t surprising, since Netflix said it would do just that — minus the dollar amount — last week, when it announced its Q1 earnings.

But it is a good reminder that, among other things, Netflix is a very large cash-burning machine: The company says it will have $2 billion in negative cash flow this year.

The theory, of course, is that Netflix is in growth mode, so it is spending a lot now to make even more money later. Right now, the company thinks it needs to spend billions on new movies from Adam Sandler and Will Smith, and additional seasons of “House of Cards,” so it can attract and retain new subscribers.

Eventually, it’s supposed to have enough paying customers that it can pay for all that content and turn a profit. Wall Street is willing to play along: Shares are up 15 percent this year.

Here’s the trailer for “War Machine,” the Netflix-funded Brad Pitt movie out next month:

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