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Netflix, Warner Get into 'The Lying Game'

11 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Streaming access to ABC Family series ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘The Lying Game’ underscore thawing tensions between Netflix and Warner Bros.

Netflix June 11 said it is now offering subscribers streaming access to repurposed episodes of ABC Family teen mystery television series “Pretty Little Liars” and season one of “The Lying Game,” beginning in early 2013.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix inked a multiyear agreement with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution — creator of the series. Warner, which is a unit of Time Warner, is one of the largest producers of primetime and network TV programming. 

The third season of “Liars” began June 5 on ABC Family.

“Liars” follows four girls after the mysterious disappearance of their best friend, Alison. One year later, the clique begins to receive messages from someone named "A," who threatens to expose the group’s secrets — including those that only Alison knew.

“Lying Game” tells the story of identical twin girls, Emma and Sutton, separated at birth and unaware of each other until circumstances bring them together. With Emma raised in the foster care system and Sutton adopted by a wealthy family, the series follows the girls as they switch places to search for their birth parents — a move that sets into motion a tangled web of secrecy and lies.

Noteworthy about the deal is that Warner is apparently upping content access to Netflix considering Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ infamous rancor toward the rental service and subscription video-on-demand in general.

While many media companies and content holders have embraced Netflix’s licensing largess, Warner has approached the SVOD leader at arm’s reach — contending the service undermines traditional distribution channels such as syndication and physical sellthrough, among other issues.

Indeed, the evolution of SVOD prompted Bewkes and Time Warner to roll out TV Everywhere platforms that allow authenticated pay-TV subscribers 24/7 access to programming on numerous consumer electronics devices, including the TV.

“We are excited that our relationship with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution continues to evolve and is allowing us to bring more of these hit shows to Netflix,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, said in a statement.

“Liars” and “The Lying Game” add to the existing library of ABC Family TV series currently available on Netflix, including “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Make It or Break It” and “Melissa & Joey.”

“These series are hugely popular with viewers who not only watch their series on TVs, but also on laptops, tablets and mobile devices — be it one episode at a time or an entire season,” Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, said in a statement. “By featuring the out-of-season episodes of 'Liars' and 'Lying Game,' new viewers will have the opportunity to discover the show and catch up which will, in turn, bring new fans to the original episodes on ABC Family.”


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