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Content Revolving Door: Netflix Dumps, Adds Hundreds of Titles

1 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

SVOD pioneer adds 500 titles the same day it ends license agreements on more than 1,700 movies from Epix, Universal and MGM

Netflix May 1 ceased streaming hundreds of movies from Epix, Universal and MGM — the same day it added 500 titles from other sources. Epix is co-owned by Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM.

During the subscription video-on-demand’s April 22 fiscal call, CEO Reed Hastings remarked the service would take a more selective approach toward licensing third-party content going forward, including not renewing an encompassing agreement with Viacom.

Hastings said he would prefer licensing select Viacom programming when the current agreement ends May 31. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said the media company remains in discussions with Netflix, adding he expects digital revenue to increase 10% this year.

"We continue to see the digital distribution arena as a growing opportunity and complementary to what we do," Dauman told analysts during a May 1 fiscal call.

Netflix spokesperson Joris Evers said churning content underscores a “dynamic” service that is continually updating TV shows and movies to lure and retain subscribers.

“This ebb and flow happens all the time,” he said in a statement. “We often license TV shows and movies on an exclusive basis, so we can provide a unique experience. We'll forego, or choose not renew, titles that aren't watched enough. We always use our knowledge about what our members love to watch to decide what's available on Netflix.”

Meanwhile, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Netflix’s decision to be more selective of content segues nicely with Warner Bros. content channels.

“We thought that would happen,” Bewkes said in a May 1 fiscal call. “We think it’s a good trend for us.”

The CEO believes SVOD platforms will increasingly focus on back seasons of current TV series, select high-value library titles as well as original programming.

“We are the biggest supplier of all of those categories,” Bewkes said. “We think we’re in the catbird seat from that point of view with all of the SVOD buyers.”


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