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Netflix Canada Gets Warner Movies, TV Programs

26 Nov, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Continuing its slow embrace of subscription video-on-demand, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution is upping licensing of previous seasons of select TV shows and movies to Netflix Canada.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix said the first two seasons of “The Vampire Diaries” are now available on Netflix Canada with season three commencing Jan. 1. In addition, complete previous seasons of “Pretty Little Liars,” the mystery-thriller following four teen friends whose clique falls apart with the disappearance of their queen bee, and "Fringe," the science-fiction series from J.J. Abrams, will also be available in Canada Jan. 1.

Netflix Canada’s more than 1 million subscribers will also have access to The Hangover Part II, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and comedy Horrible Bosses, among others, following their pay-television window.

“Over the years, we’ve learned that our members love to immerse themselves in serialized dramas and great movies, and we think that our Canadian members are going to love these latest additions to the service,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, said in a statement.

Availability of Warner content on Netflix Canada exceeds Netflix in the United States, underscoring parent Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ longstanding reluctance to embrace low-margin SVOD. Bewkes has steadfastly maintained that SVOD is ideally suited to content unsold to traditional distribution channels such as syndication, premium TV and packaged media.

As a result, Warner, which is the largest producer of original TV programming, licensed primarily content with few third-party takers such as canceled series “Nip/Tuck,” which Netflix licensed in its entirety a couple of years ago. Warner (along with co-owner CBS Corp.) also licenses most programs from The CW to Netflix.

Indeed, Netflix now only streams the first season of “Fringe,” and first two seasons of “Pretty Little Liars” in the U.S.

With Netflix willing to spend lavishly on content and packaged media sellthrough sales softening, Warner has slowly opened the gates to its immense content portfolio.

Two-thirds of the $250 million in Warner's SVOD revenue through Sept. 30 comes from TV content compared with movies. Netflix comprises up to 45% of the total.

“We are pleased to extend our great relationship with Netflix to the benefit of their Canadian subscribers — giving them access to full past seasons of some of our most popular and addictive serialized dramas and blockbuster feature film titles,” Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. International Television, said in a statement.


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