If you’re planning on watching any of the 1,000 Walt Disney, Sony, Pixar and original Starz programming controlled by the cable outlet that streaming service Netflix offers, you may want to get to it fairly quickly. Negotiations to between Starz and Netflix ended today with the two companies not reaching an agreement that would allow Netflix to continue to offer Starz content. As of February 28, 2012, that material will no longer be available on Netflix Instant Watch.
In a statement, Starz President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Albrecht, stated –
Starz Entertainment has ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix. When the agreement expires on February 28, 2012, Starz will cease to distribute its content on the Netflix streaming platform. This decision is a result of our strategy to protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content. With our current studio rights and growing original programming presence, the network is in an excellent position to evaluate new opportunities and expand its overall business.
Honestly, I’m not surprised that this has happened. With the explosion in the popularity of content streaming over the last couple of years, Netflix found their acquisition costs skyrocketing as providers begin to demand a much larger price for their product. In 2010, Netflix paid out approximately $180 million in rights for material. It is estimated that next year the service will be paying out something close to $1.9 billion.
Back in June, Netflix suddenly pulled hundreds of titles from Sony Pictures – including popular titles like Salt and The Social Network – from its online streaming catalog. It turns out that the contract that Netflix had signed with Starz, the distributor of the Sony material, called for a cap on the number of subscribers who can watch Sony movies online. Once that limit was reached the agreement was rendered null and void.
It is a shame, though that this would be announced on the same day that Netflix’s new subscription rates go into effect.