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August 1, 2014

Netflix Is Ready for Primetime Streaming

by Harley W. Lond, posted Dec 2nd 2010 10:30PM
Netflix is taking over the world.

According to a report in the New York Post, Netflix is bound and determined to add current episodes of hit TV shows to its Web streaming service, a move that is already causing network executives to quiver in their boots. It's bad enough that Netflix put a dent in the home video rental business, all but putting the final nails in Blockbuster's coffin; now it's scaring Hollywood with the prospect of becoming a streaming giant.

The Post reports that Netflix is in talks with the studios about gaining access to current episodes of primetime shows and is willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode. The company currently streams older episodes of such shows as 'Nip/Tuck,' 'Veronica Mars' and 'The Family Guy,' and recenly cut a deal with NBC Universal to stream "Saturday Night Live' the day after it airs on the network.

One of the issues that concerns the studios and the networks is ownership of streaming rights. The studios say that they control the rights, since they create the shows. On the other hand the networks, which broadcast the shows, claim that they own the rights -- and are worried about lost revenue from advertising and syndication if their shows are easily streamed. It looks like another unforeseen battle in the brave new world of online technology, another battle that no one saw coming -- and one that will cause a lot of pulled hair (and lost revenue) before it's resolved.

In the meantime, Netflix is pushing forward. It's streaming-only service now goes for $7.99, but it has to beef up its offerings to attract customers -- hence reaching into its deep pockets to buy content. And if it succeeds in getting current shows, it will go up against Hulu, the Web TV hub backed by News Corp., NBC Universal, Disney and Providence Equity Partners.

According to the Post, Netflix is on track to deliver some 300 million streams, double the number last year.

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