Netflix Increases Virus Relief Fund by 50 Percent to $150 Million

Reed Hastings keynote CES 2016 - Getty - H 2018
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The streamer initially pledged $100 million to the out-of-work production community in March.

With no end in sight to Hollywood's widespread work stoppage due to the novel coronavirus, Netflix has upped its relief fund for the now-unemployed production community.

The fund's amount has been increased by 50 percent to $150 million, a company spokesperson confirmed Friday. Netflix initially pledged $100 million to the out-of-work production community in mid-March after it paused its many productions across the globe.

Separately, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin donated $30 million to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a nonprofit organization started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is working on life-saving immunization programs to fight COVID-19. The cash donation represents the first private-sector contribution toward Gavi's goal of raising at least $7.4 billion to immunize 300 million children and hopefully save 8 million lives in the next five years. 

Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos spoke up at the time about the pandemic's unprecedented effect on the filming community. "Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest-hit workers on our own productions around the world,” he said, adding that the money would be handed out in addition to the two weeks of pay the company promised cast and crew on suspended productions.

Netflix also announced Friday that it had teamed with The Netherlands Film Fund to launch a new relief fund for film and TV production in the Netherlands. The streamer will make 1 million euros available in the country to jump-start the fund, which is expected to be administered by the producers of the affected productions and go to the most vulnerable freelancers.

"We want to do our part to help those who most need our support in these unprecedented times," said Lina Brouneus, director of co-production and acquisition at Netflix.

That donation adds to the many pledges Netflix has made to various industry organizations amid the virus outbreak. The company has already given $1 million each to SAG-AFTRA, The Actors Fund and the Television Fund in the U.S. Netflix has also given to AFC and Fondation des Artistes in Canada; the British Film Institute in England; the Italian Film Commission in Italy; the Brazilian Institute of Audiovisual Contents in Brazil; Audiens in France; the Producers Guild of India; the Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas in Mexico; and the Spanish Film Academy, Acción Cultural Española and ICAA in Spain.