As reported here a few weeks ago, Netflix is making a strong commitment to original programming, as an online challenge to cable giants such as HBO and Showtime. The money Netflix is spending is even more than many analysts expected, according to Variety:

CAA TV literary agent Peter Micelli was forthcoming about how Netflix — and other digital media upstarts — do business with Hollywood during a panel discussion Friday at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium. He went so far as to specify how much was spent to produce some of the series CAA has sold to Netflix.

“The cheapest show is $3.8 million an episode,” Micelli told a crowd of more than 500 lawyers in the entertainment business. “‘House of Cards’ started at $4.5 million and (executive producer David) Fincher took it way above that.” . . .

“The next series is ‘Hemlock Grove’ and they’re doing that for about $4 million an episode,” he said. “‘ ‘Orange is the New Black’ is just under $4 million as well. They’re huge budgets shows, they’re doing things in a huge way.”

That kind of money is more than the broadcast networks spend, “which rarely exceeds $4 million per episode,” Variety notes.

Both Amazon and Xbox are reportedly entering the original programming competition, the story notes.

As suggested in my earlier article on the original programming at Netflix, these investments are good news both for the industry and for consumers, as the increasing competition can only help to foster more variety and choice in the media. That, in my view, is our best hope for an additional expansion of the sorts of values promoted by the medium.