Warner Bros. inks exclusive TV content deal with Netflix
It's been a good news, bad news situation for Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) of late. On the good news front, the online streaming media player signed a licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Television Group for complete previous seasons of serialized dramas produced for broadcast and cable networks. This was tempered by the bad news that HBO, in extending its deal with Universal Pictures for movie rights through 2022, effectively shut Netflix out of the mix.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said the Warner Bros. deal is actually helping support better television.
"Through deals like this, Netflix is making the production economics right for the continued creation of the kind of compelling serialized dramas and thrillers that our members love," he said.
Those dramas include shows like "Revolution," "The Following," "Longmire," the mini-series "Political" and "666 Park Ave." along with older programs like "Chuck," "Fringe" and the eternally optimistic "The West Wing."
Warner Bros., too, sees the wisdom of making these shows available in a streaming format as a catch-up mechanism.
"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," Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, said in the press release.
On the other side of the coin, there won't be quite as many movies to watch as TV programs thanks to the deal between Universal Pictures, a Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) property, and HBO, ironically part of the Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) family along with Warner Bros.
Details were sketchy, but even a surface look shows that HBO, with its own online streaming and TV Everywhere capabilities, will have access to some movies that Netflix might have wanted. Included among these are "Ted" and the currently screening "Les Miserables."
On top of all this, there was some news that might be considered "neutral" since it's not as bad, but it's certainly not good. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), quickly becoming Netflix's archrival, has scooped up a series of programs from A&E Networks that were, until September, in the Netflix fold. Among this fare, coming from A&E, Bio, History and Lifetime, are reality shows like "Dance Moms," Hoarders," "Project Runway," "Storage Wars" and "Pawn Stars." They'll now be available via Amazon Prime Instant Video.