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Netflix Lands All Seasons of ‘Mad Men’

5 Apr, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Deal includes recently announced seasons 5 and 6

Emmy Award-winning series “Mad Men” may be on hiatus, but that didn’t stop Netflix April 5 from announcing it secured U.S. streaming rights to all four seasons of the popular drama.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based online disc rental pioneer will begin streaming episodes July 27. Media reports suggest Netflix paid as much as $1 million per episode in license fees.

Set in 1960s New York, "Mad Men" follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising. The ensemble cast includes Golden Globe-winner Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Jared Harris, Rich Sommer, Aaron Staton, Robert Morse and Kiernan Shipka.

“This deal secures long-term instant access to an iconic show for Netflix members for years to come,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer with Netflix.

Lionsgate last week announced a new three-year agreement with the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, with seasons five and six (and a possible seventh) slated to begin airing on AMC next year. Those seasons also will be available on Netflix following their AMC broadcast.

Scuttlebutt suggested “Mad Men” was earmarked for Netflix’s domestic subscribers after the company last week signed a streaming deal for its Canadian service.

“We have ensured 'Mad Men's' value for years to come by layering today's unique syndication deal with a leading digital distribution partner on top of last week's licensing agreement with AMC,” Lionsgate president Steve Beeks said.

He said transactional video-on-demand and related syndication plans for “Mad Men” would be announced shortly.

Eric Wold, director of research with Merriman Capital in San Francisco, said the deal, along with the recently announced “House of Cards” exclusive series, underscores how big Netflix has become.

“With many consumers subscribing to HBO and Showtime primarily for access to certain original programming series (“Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire,” etc.), we believe this move by Netflix could not only draw new subscribers (due to the low $7.99 per month cost), but also give another strong reason for churn to stay low,” Wold wrote in a note.

He projects netflix will end 2011 with 32.4 million subs, including 29 million domestically.

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