In the wake of Netflix announcing it would launch an original series from Kevin Spacey called House of Cards, things definitely seemed to be taking a new turn for the company’s Watch Instantly service. However, it seems that the cable channels in the United States aren’t quite as pleased with the concept.
Earlier this week it was announced that Showtime’s current contract with Netflix is up this summer, and there will be some changes made to the deal when its renewed. While Watch Instantly will retain the rights to show series such as The Tudors, any series that is still producing episodes such as Dexter or Weeds will no longer be available. This new arrangement will also include completed seasons of those series, so it won’t be restricted to just the newest episodes that have yet to air.
As if the Showtime problem wasn’t bad enough, Starz has joined in on the new view of Netflix as the enemy and has announced that beginning April 1st, new episodes of series, and some movies, will be delayed from playing on the streaming service for 90 days. A spokesperson for Starz said in a statement, “Beginning with the April 1 premiere of the new original drama Camelot, new episodes of Starz originals will now be available on the Starz Play services 90 days after they debut on the network, with exclusive first-run movies later following suit.” The good news is that this new blackout period isn’t exclusive to Netflix – it will also impact Qwest and Verizon services – but it is still a blow none the less.
The only good news to come from this past week for Netflix is the rumor that the company is about to sign a $100 million dollar, five-year agreement with the Miramax film studio to stream all 700 of its titles. According to The Wall Street Journal the deal is nearing completion, but both companies declined to comment on the story. While most film studios have avoided deals that would see their entire libraries streamed online, Miramax was purchased last year from the Walt Disney Company for $660 million by an investment group that is exploring all possible avenues to recoup their investment.
Hollywood has taken a very love/hate view of its relationship with Netflix Watch Instantly as its safe to say no one expected it to become as popular as it has. With the company now throwing its hat into the ring of creating original content, the company is now in direct competition with its biggest content providers. You had to assume there would be some backlash from the studios as they might see this as aiding their new enemy. While Showtime’s deal is a bit more of a blow, will a 90 day window on Starz content really matter if you don’t have a subscription to the channel? Instead of seeing the new Torchwood – Miracle Day season in July, you’ll have to wait until Oct., but you’ll still see it without having to subscribe to the channel and only paying as little as $7.99 a month to Netflix. Still seems like a winning scenario to me.
What do you think? Have Showtime and Starz struck fatal blows against Netflix, or will it be able to weather the storm?