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NBCU Cable Hits Netflix

9/27/2010 12:28 AM Eastern

NBC Universal is dishing
out some more chow for the
cable-cutter buffet line in a deal
with Netflix — although the media
company isn’t putting its latest
cable programming in the
mix for now.

Netflix and NBCU’s domestictelevision
distribution group inked
an expanded license agreement
under which Netflix subscribers
will for the first time get instant,
on-demand access to several past
USA Network and Syfy series. The
multiyear deal, which goes into
effect the week of Sept. 27, builds
on the previous one struck between
Netflix and NBCU in 2007,
covering shows from the broadcast
network.

The cable programming is a
new part of the deal. Netflix customers
will now be able to access
full seasons of USA’s Monk
and Psych, as well as more than
75 episodes of Syfy’s Battlestar
Galactica
. “This agreement adds
meaningfully to the wide variety
of content that can be streamed
from Netflix and breaks new
ground in our relationship with
NBC Universal,” Netflix chief
content officer Ted Sarandos said
in announcing the pact.

While the incidence of cable
TV “cord-cutting” has been marginal
so far, pay TV operators are
responding to over-the-top alternatives
such as Netflix with TV
Everywhere services that offer
subscribers more content online
(see “Slow Start to Authenticated
World,”).

The deal continues Netflix’s
push to grow the Internet streaming
options available to its more
than 15 million customers,
who today primarily rent DVDs
through the mail. Netflix CEO
Reed Hastings, in a post on the
company’s blog last Thursday,
said the company is looking at
adding a streaming-only option
in the U.S. “over the coming
months,” as it does in Canada.

Last month, Netflix signed a
five-year deal reportedly worth
about $1 billion with Epix, the
movie-channel venture of Paramount
Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-
Mayer and Lionsgate, to be
able to stream movies 90 days after
the premiere on the linear TV
channel.

Netflix also has streaming
agreements for cable-TV content
with MTV Networks, Showtime
Networks, Starz Entertainment,
The Walt Disney Co. and Warner
Bros. Home Entertainment
Group. The “Watch Instantly”
Internet-streaming feature is
available via more than 100 devices.

 

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