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Netflix, CBS Sign International Streaming Deal

27 Jul, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Agreement expands domestic pact announced in February and includes Showtime programming

Netflix and CBS Corp. July 27 said they have inked a non-exclusive two-year agreement that allows the online disc rental pioneer to stream CBS and Showtime programming into Canada and Latin America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Beginning in September, Netflix Canada’s 1 million subscribers will be able to stream current and complete back seasons of "90210," "Californication," "Dexter" and "The United States of Tara," among others. Canadian members also will have access to CBS library shows such as "Numb3rs," "Sleeper Cell" and "Twin Peaks."

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix, which plans to bow streaming service in 43 Latin America countries, including the Caribbean and Mexico, by the end of the year, will have Spanish-language access to "90210," "Medium," "Nurse Jackie," "Californication” ande "Dexter," and library titles such as the original "Star Trek," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Charmed" and "Twin Peaks," among others.

Expansion of the CBS programming for streaming highlights a turnaround of sorts for CBS CEO Les Moonves, who, until recently, has expressed reservations about licensing content to subscription-based video-on-demand services such as Netflix and ad-supported platform Hulu.

In presentations last year, Moonves said he was in no hurry to make deals with Netflix without further due diligence — a stance that ultimately saw the CEO reject licensing content to Hulu in favor of subscription-based Hulu Plus. Moonves has been steadfast in his support for traditional revenue models such as ad-supported broadcast TV, syndication and pay-TV channels.

“There is no great need to rush into something (Netflix) that we don’t know a lot about,” he told investors in December.

Indeed, media reports earlier this year suggested CBS was going to pull “Dexter” and “Californication” from Netflix this summer. And CBS primetime hits — such as “Two and a Half Men,” “NCIS,” “The Mentalist” and “The Big Bang Theory” — remain available only on disc.

"This new arrangement — which does not compete with U.S. ratings or Showtime's domestic subscriber base — underscores the popularity of CBS content around the world and illustrates yet another meaningful way for us to realize incremental value from our vast library of content,” said Armando Nunez, president, CBS Studios International.

Separately, Netflix July 27 began offering streaming to all episodes of "Mad Men" in the United States, heretofore Netflix's highest-profile streaming content.

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