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Netflix pays content chief Sarandos like a mogul with 50% raise

Sarandos, 54, joined Netflix in 2000 and has emerged this decade as one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood

John J Edwards III | Bloomberg 


Inc. gave Chief Content Officer a 50 percent increase in salary for 2019, vaulting him into the ranks of Hollywood’s best-paid media moguls with $18 million in base compensation.

Sarandos’s cash pay compares with the $20.2 million that 21st Century Fox Inc. Chairman got last fiscal year, and the $17.7 million Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer received. also granted Sarandos $13.5 million in stock options, according to a filing Friday, comparable to the awards other elite media executives received.

CEO Reed Hastings, meanwhile, is getting paid like his Silicon Valley counterparts, with most of his pay incentive-based. His base salary stays at $700,000 for 2019, and his stock-option allocation rises to $30.8 million from $28.7 million.

Sarandos, 54, joined Netflix in 2000 and has emerged this decade as one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood, presiding over a budget of as much as $8 billion this year to produce or acquire exclusive programming for the streaming-video giant.

Chief Product Officer Greg Peters will make $10 million in salary, up from $6 million in 2018, and gets $6.8 million in options, up a bit from $6.6 million.

Sarandos and Peters each had $1 million base salaries in 2017 but had hefty cash-bonus targets. The federal tax plan passed late that year eliminated companies’ ability to deduct performance-based bonuses to managers paid more than $1 million, so Netflix decided to consolidate all cash compensation into salaries.

Chief Financial Officer David Wells’s salary will rise to $3.5 million from $2.8 million, with his options up to $2.8 million from $2.45 million. Wells announced in August he’ll step down after the company finds a successor, saying he wants to focus on philanthropy.

Netflix shares have risen 33 percent this year, compared with a 3.5 percent drop for the S&P 500 movies and entertainment index. The Los Gatos, California-based company had 137.1 million subscribers at the end of the third quarter and said it expected to add a record 28.9 million customers for the full year.

First Published: Sat, December 29 2018. 20:45 IST