Netflix streaming queue starting to look a little stale? It's working on that, and has signed a deal that brings EPIX's library of movies to Watch Instantly -- just not that instantly. If you're not familiar with EPIX, allow us to refresh you, it's a network launched last year by Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate that brings their movies home (though often unfortunately cropped and zoomed to 16x9) through a linear channel, video on-demand or internet streaming. Under this new agreement, movies from those studios can come to Netflix 90 days after they debut on the premium pay-tv and subscription VOD services. While that means streamers won't get access to Iron Man 2, The Expendables, or Dinner for Shmucks anywhere near day-and-date with their DVD or Blu-ray releases, those kinds of high profile flicks will show up and stick around with greater regularity than we've been used to. The companies haven't released further details, but rumors reported by the L.A. Times suggest licensing costs could reach $1 billion over the next 5 years. The first movies covered by the new deal arrive September 1, likely with flicks from the Star Trek, James Bond and Indiana Jones series (hopefully not Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) among them.
Update: Analyst Dan Rayburn claims on Business of Video that Netflix won't be getting any EPIX movies in HD, so we asked Netflix VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey whether we could expect HD streaming movies with Movie Parties or if they would have Starz-like restrictions. The answer? "HD over time and no restrictions on Party Viewing." Take from that what you will.
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EPIX AND NETFLIX ANNOUNCE EXCLUSIVE INTERNET-ONLY DEAL TO INSTANTLY STREAM EPIX MOVIES TO NETFLIX MEMBERS
NEW YORK and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., August 10, 2010 – EPIX™ and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced an agreement through which Netflix members can instantly watch an array of new releases and library titles from EPIX streamed over the Internet from Netflix. Movies from the multi-year deal will begin streaming from Netflix on September 1 and include movies from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM.
EPIX has subscription pay TV rights to new releases and movies from the libraries of its partners and will make these movies available to Netflix 90 days after their premium pay TV and subscription on demand debuts. Historically, the rights to distribute these films are pre-sold to pay TV for as long as nine years after their theatrical release.
For Netflix, the agreement is a significant step in building the company's streaming offer, adding many popular movie titles from some of the world's leading studios. It adds meaningfully to a growing library of movies and TV shows that can be watched instantly on TVs via a range of leading consumer electronic devices capable of streaming from Netflix and on computers.
For EPIX, the deal reflects the value of the EPIX platform which, from its start, has provided new rights and flexibility for the distribution of its movies. The agreement allows EPIX to continue the distribution of popular content on a variety of platforms and preserve the premium television, subscription on demand and online window reserved for cable, satellite and telco television partners.
"Adding EPIX to our growing library of streaming content, as the exclusive Internet-only distributor of this great content, marks the continued emergence of Netflix as a leader in entertainment delivered over the Web," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "The EPIX deal is an example of the innovative ways in which we're partnering with major content providers to broaden the scope and freshness of choices available to our members to watch instantly over the Internet."
Mark Greenberg, president of EPIX, added: "Netflix is an incredibly popular service and we welcome them as our newest distribution partner. We are pleased to be able to continue our mission of bringing consumers the movies where they want to watch them, while satisfying the differing needs of cable, telco and satellite operators. This deal also underscores the tremendous value of our offerings in the marketplace."
With more than 15 million members, Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is the world's largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet and sending DVDs by mail. For $8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited TV episodes and movies streamed to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. With Netflix, there are never any due dates or late fees. Members can select from a growing library of titles that can be watched instantly and a vast array of titles on DVD. Among the large and expanding base of devices that can stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix are Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii consoles; Blu-ray disc players from Samsung, LG and Insignia; Internet TVs from LG, Sony and VIZIO; the Roku digital video player and TiVo digital video recorders, and Apple's iPad tablet. For more information, visit http://www.netflix.com.
EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom Inc. [NYSE: VIA and VIA.B], its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Lionsgate [NYSE: LGF], is a next-generation premium entertainment channel, on-demand and online service. EPIX provides a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service. It is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up of new Hollywood titles, classic feature films, original series, music and comedy specials through the linear channel, on-demand and online. EPIX has made the commitment to deliver the industry's most expansive online collection of movies, making more than 3,000 titles available to subscribers this year. The service is available to over 30 million homes nationwide through carriage agreements with Verizon FiOS, DISH Network, Cox Communications, Mediacom Communications, Charter Communications and NCTC. For more information about EPIX, go to www.EpixHD.com