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Warner, CBS Ink Streaming Deal With Netflix

13 Oct, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

License agreement underscores Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes’ warming to subscription video-on-demand platforms

Warner Bros. Television Group and CBS Corp. Oct. 13 said they have signed a multiyear license agreement with Netflix that allows the subscription video-on-demand service’s members to stream current and future episodes from The CW beginning in the fall of 2012.

Financial terms of the four-year deal were not disclosed. Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix also receives access to more than 700 hours of previous-season episodes from The CW, including “The Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl,” “One Tree Hill” and “Nikita,” among others. The CW fall 2011 programs include “Ringer,” “Hart of Dixie” and “The Secret Circle.”

Previous episodes of “Nikita” will be available beginning Oct. 15.

CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves reiterated his support for Netflix, saying the SVOD service augments traditional incremental revenue sources such as syndication and pay-TV channels.

“[Netflix] is a model that opens a new door for The CW programming to expand its audience reach through the terrific Netflix service and creates a brand-new window for CBS and Warner Bros.,” Moonves said in a statement.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, a longtime critic of Netflix and subscription VOD, has warmed up to the platform recently with the caveat that it provides incremental revenue for programming unable to deliver such revenue elsewhere in the distribution food chain.

Launched in 2006 by CBS and Warner Bros., The CW Television Network provides a joint platform for the media companies’ myriad programs not picked up by other channels. Warner TV is one of the largest creators of episodic programming on network television.

“[The deal] extends our traditional syndication window with a strong additive revenue play perfect for serialized dramas, and portends even greater growth opportunities for our studio as we continue to explore and define the marketplace,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. TV Group and office of the president.


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