The latest skirmish in the ongoing battle between pay-TV and over-the-top providers to woo customers by building the most alluring content ecosystems has been won by on-demand streaming service Netflix (albeit, yesterday it was pay-TV’s day). Netflix has inked a deal with U.S. Warner Bros for the exclusive online rights to eight current Warner Bros Television Group shows airing in the 2012-13 season — namely: J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions post-apocalyptic America drama Revolution; Sigourney Weaver vehicle Political Animals; Western mystery series Longmire; supernatural thriller 666 Park Avenue; Kevin Bacon FBI thriller The Following; plus Chuck; Fringe; and The West Wing — as well as “potential future shows”.
Under the agreement, the pair said the shows can also be made available via “traditional syndication windows, electronic sell-through services and on a catch-up basis for recently aired episodes”. Netflix, which now has more than 30 million streaming members worldwide, described the deal as “unprecedented” — owing to how quickly it’s been able to secure rights to such “prominent” shows, and the exclusivity of the deal. Last month the company scored another big win, striking a wide-ranging deal with Disney – including exclusive rights from 2016 to movies from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, and Disneynature.
For its part, Warner Bros said the deal is a sign of how it’s continuing to adapt its business model to accommodate subscription video on demand. “SVOD has become an important window for our serialized dramas, allowing viewers a chance to discover a series that before might have been intimidating to tune into mid-run,” said Bruce Rosenblum , President, Warner Bros. Television Group in a statement. “We continue to adapt our business models to include SVOD when it makes sense for the long-term value of each show and are thrilled to have Netflix as one of our distribution partners.”
In another recent over-the-top win, late last week ecommerce giant Amazon inked a deal with A+E Networks to beef up the content ecosystem of its Prime Instant Video streaming service.