Another Netflix Coup

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Yesterday, Netflix announced a deal that will add films from Lions Gate, Paramount, and MGM to its online subscription service. The deal, a five-year, multi-million dollar arrangement with little-known company EPIX, will allow Netflix to compete with cable and satellite TV companies for consumer’s digital media dollars.

Until recently, film studios preferred to pre-sell the rights to distribute movies to pay TV services, allowing particular movies to be exclusive to particular services for years. Now, Netflix will be able to distribute these movies ninety days after their pay TV debut.

This deal is a symptom of a much larger shift in the film industry: digital distribution is quickly becoming mainstream. Frankly, it’s about time. Previous models of film distribution tend not to be very favourable to films that fall too far outside the mainstream; for instance, many of the films we review are only get festival releases or are shown in a limited number of theatres. Digital distribution has the potential to change that.

– Dave Robson

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