Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare

Starting next month, Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) subscribers will have to wait a lot longer before they can stream new episodes of original series from Starz Entertainment LLC , one of the over-the-top video firm's key content partners.

Under a new distribution policy that comes into effect April 1 with the premiere of Camelot, Starz will delay Netflix's access to new episodes of original programs for 90 days after they debut on the network, "with exclusive first-run movies later following suit," Starz said in a statement released Thursday. Under the current policy, Netflix gets access to those shows for streaming the day after they debut on the Starz channel.

However, Netflix subs will still have streaming access to past seasons of Starz series such as Spartacus and previously aired movies.

Word of the new policy comes amid increasing friction between Netflix, cable operators and other premium programmers. Earlier this week, Showtime made significant alternations to its Netflix deal, opting to withhold access to some first-run programming such as Dexter starting later this year.

As for the new Starz policy with Netflix, that 90-day delay won't be in play for "authenticated" consumers that subscribe to Starz through a pay-TV service provider and have access to the Starz Online service.

It was not immediately clear if the change in policy will affect Netflix's access to a linear feed of the flagship Starz channel that is currently offered via the "Starz Play" service.

Why this matters
Starz did not immediately offer a reason for the policy change, but the company's deal with Netflix is set to expire early next year and the revisions may be part of ongoing negotiations toward a renewal. Ever since Netflix and Starz signed their original deal in 2008, some cable operators have grumbled about it, upset that Netflix customers were paying less for Starz content and fearful that the deal would erode their premium subscription bases.

The new Starz concessions are similar to the ones Netflix agreed to as part of its distribution deal with another premium programmer, EPIX, which withholds new titles from Netflix until 90 days after EPIX debuts them on its linear channel.

Retaining access to Starz content is important to Netflix, but concessions on access may cause some customers to complain that they must wait longer for first-run content but still pay Netflix the same subscription rate.

At the same time, Netflix is becoming increasingly competitive with premium subscription TV partners such as Starz and Showtime, as well as with HBO, which continues to hold Netflix at arm's length. Among recent competitive moves, Netflix just nabbed the exclusive distribution rights for House of Cards, a new series starring Kevin Spacey. Netflix, which committed to at least 26 episodes, plans to debut it in late 2012.

It's been reported that Netflix paid US$100 million for those rights, outbidding HBO.

For more
For a look at the Netflix streaming evolution, please check out:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Light-bulb 12/5/2012 | 5:09:25 PM
re: Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare

Indeed...  This is just awful... I mean... people may have to go back to downloading shows from newsgroups...

You see Netflix gives me exactly what I want, when I want, in a consumption model I want.  Emphasis on I... the customer.

Now we have these producers who are all trying to get their own distribution vehicle off the ground... yet don't have hardware out there that is integrated into TV's, PS3, Iphones... etc etc... Completely fragmented each with their own delivery mechanisms etc.  

The world is changing yet these people are trying tooth and nail to make sure it takes as long as possible... I suppose for shareholders there is value there, but the light can be seen, they'd better choose to adapt and let consumption happen when/where/how I want, else I'll find a method where they make zero and still fulfill my desire for content.

comtech3 12/5/2012 | 5:09:25 PM
re: Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare

Well, first you must understand that Netflix is a disruptive technology in that it eats into the revenue to the MSOs such as the traditional cablecos,satellite service providers,and the new video players,the telcos.All not only make money from the services that they provide,but from equipment rental as well,which is absurd in the first place.In most European countries, subs own their set-top boxes. Incidentally, the recently abandoned tru2way cablecard was to allow subs to own their own set-top boxes in addition to other implementations.

To be fair to the service providers, having companies like Netflix competing with them by using their infrastructure kind of put them at an unfair advantage considering,especially the cablecos, the have to pay franchise fees, must-carry fees,pole rental fees,FCC,and others.Netflix only pay for access, FCC and deals they made with content providers.With that kind of advantage,they can charge such low fees,whereas the service providers have to maintain their plant at high cost. I am sure you would not want someone to move in your house and don't help with the bills,yet enjoy your hospitality for FREE!

What the cablecos can do is to abandon their traditional way of doing business and just become an wholesaler of universal access.This would open the door for competing providers supplying services over the cable plant with sub own CPE,somewhat similar to 1996 Act that broke up the Bell phone service.This may not work because like the electric power supply companies, the cablecos would only fix problems at the demarc and not on the inside.Finger pointing between service provider and access provider would be the hallmark of this approach.

comtech3 12/5/2012 | 5:09:25 PM
re: Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare

Seems like someone is flexing their muscle at Netflix,and pretty soon, Netflex will be a distant memory in the grave yard of start-up companies who have dared to cross the line.As Bob Marley will tell us in songs," give them an inch and they took a mile". That is exactly what Netflex has done.They were given an inch by the big players,but had to go for a mile,and now the big players are planning to take that measuring tape to strangle Netflix!

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:09:24 PM
re: Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare

I don't think Netflix is any more disruptive technologically than any other OTT video solution.  The thing is making me wait 30 - 90 days more is going to make no difference to me.  If I wanted to see the movie sooner, I would have seen it in the movie theatre.

The only place this makes sense is in TV show programming.  I am going to be interested to see if a model of a new TV show that goes straight to OTT becomes popular.  What I have seen out of current OTT only content is that the audiences are small compared to major network programming.




bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 5:09:21 PM
re: Netflix to Wait 90 Days for New Starz Fare

NetFlix Streaming application is very popular and at less cost than paying a cable or service provider for the same content/channl.

The reality is OTT NETFLIX is hurting cable and the like for premium content.

The Content food chain needs to be maintained for as long as possible.

Who really needs to go to the movie theaters anymore - they survive ONLY because the movie industry fears loss of revenue per person, not per viewing. After all if NTFLIX maks more mony than the CONTENT providers thn thats not a sustainable model for them.

The only money deal NETFLIX needs to address is how much can it  charge for instant access so it can pay "content producers". and provid them more revenue per viewing session !

The problems of the "Opn Internet" - Virtually Free versus Fee based Accss to content





Sign In