Netflix to stream movies from Starz

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In an interesting move by Netflix and Starz, about 2,500 featured movies and concerts are now available for instant streaming over the Internet and using the Roku Netflix box. Because Starz offers first run “premium” content, this move expands the overall streaming offerings from Netflix considerably.

My only complaint about Netflix streaming has thus far been movie selection – man cannot live on National Lampoon’s European Vacation alone, no matter how many times Rusty gets some – and this assuages that grief by adding first-run movies to the mix. The unlimited subscription with access to streaming content is $8.99 a month and the on-line library is up to 15,000 titles now, considerably more than when we tested the service a few months ago.

Streaming, as we all know, is the way things are headed. I spoke to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last we and we discussed the shrinking of the optical market – it will be a niche for folks who still like the media in 5-10 years – while streaming is the obvious second model for Netflix distribution. He was also pleased at the obvious cost savings over snailmail and partnerships like these only make the Netflix subscription model more compelling.

NETFLIX AND STARZ ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE
AGREEMENT TO MAKE MOVIES FROM STARZ PLAY
AVAILABLE FOR INSTANT STREAMING AT NETFLIX

Starz Play, Included in All Unlimited Netflix Subscriptions,
Makes Approximately 2,500 Movies, TV Shows and Concerts
Available to be Watched Instantly by Netflix Members

LOS GATOS, Calif. and ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Oct. 1, 2008 – Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the world’s largest online movie rental service, and Starz Entertainment, LLC, a premium movie service provider operating in the U.S., today announced an agreement to make movies from Starz, through its “Starz Play” broadband subscription movie service, available to be streamed instantly at Netflix. Access to the Starz Play service at Netflix will be included with Netflix members’ current monthly subscription fee.

The deal adds significantly to a growing library of over 12,000 choices of movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly at Netflix. Netflix members who have unlimited subscription plans, which start at only $8.99 a month, will have full and unlimited access to approximately 2,500 additional movies and other choices from Starz Play as part of their current monthly subscription. That includes the opportunity to enjoy a live feed of the Starz TV network on their PCs and does not impact the number of DVDs members receive as part of their monthly plans.

The first of the Starz titles – approximately 1,000 – are available now at the Netflix Web site, where they are presented in a distinct area accessible by clicking on the “Watch Instantly” tab on the Netflix member home page. More titles will be added in the coming weeks.

Starz Play, Starz’ collection of programming content for online distribution, features a wide variety of first-run hit movies, independent films and well-known movie classics, in addition to extreme sports, concerts, anime, Westerns and more. “Spider-ManTM 3,” “Ratatouille,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Superbad,” “No Country for Old Men” and “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert” highlight the movie offerings now available to be watched instantly. Starz Play also features new original content from Starz, including episodes of the upcoming dramatic series “Crash,” from the producers of the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture “Crash,” which remains the most-rented DVD in the history of Netflix.

Beginning today, Netflix and Starz Play will offer a sneak preview of the first full episode of “Crash” in advance of the Starz primetime premiere on October 17 at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. “Crash” will remain a staple in the Starz Play programming mix and new episodes will debut day-and-date with new episode premieres.

“The coupling of Starz Play with our growing library of streaming content is an important step forward for both companies and for consumer choice,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “Our deal reflects the creative ways we are working with content partners to expand the profile and the number of choices our subscribers can watch instantly over the Internet, in addition to the 100,000 titles we offer on DVD through the mail.”

Netflix also said that as part of the deal it will offer a Starz Play-only subscription for $7.99 a month.

Starz Entertainment’s president and chief operating officer, Bill Myers, noted that this agreement marks a significant step forward in Starz’ efforts to provide consumers with choice and convenience so that they can watch Starz programming wherever and whenever they want. “Netflix has grown to be an innovative leader in the home video space and we are delighted to offer their customers our unique and robust collection of movies on a subscription basis. This agreement is a strong vehicle to promote the Starz brand and showcase Starz’ leadership position in the premium movie category.”

About Netflix, Inc.
Netflix, Inc. (Nadsaq: NFLX) is the world’s largest online movie rental service, with more than eight million subscribers. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can get DVDs delivered to their homes and can instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed to their TVs and PCs, all in unlimited amounts. Members can choose from over 100,000 DVD titles and a growing library of more than 12,000 choices that can be watched instantly. There are never any due dates or late fees. DVDs are delivered free to members by first class mail, with a postage-paid return envelope, from over 100 U.S. shipping points. More than 95 percent of Netflix members live in areas that generally receive shipments in one business day. Netflix is also partnering with leading consumer electronics companies to offer a range of devices that can instantly stream movies and TV episodes to members’ TVs from Netflix. For more information, visit http://www.netflix.com/.

About Starz Entertainment

Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz® and Encore® brands with approximately 17 million and 31.3 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Encore HD, Starz On Demand, Encore On Demand, MoviePlex On Demand, Starz HD On Demand, Encore HD On Demand, MoviePlex HD On Demand, and Starz Play. Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation, and is attributed to Liberty Entertainment Group (NASDAQ: LMDIA), a tracking stock group of Liberty Media Corporation. 

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