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Netflix Lands Exclusive Rental Window for PBS Indie Award-Winning Films

8 Jun, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

Online retailer Netflix has inked an exclusive rental window for titles from P.O.V., public television's annual award-winning showcase for independent nonfiction films.

Beginning with the film Farmingville, which won a special jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, P.O.V. titles will be available only at Netflix.com the day after they air on PBS and will be released into wider DVD distribution after an unspecified window, the companies announced today.

Farmingville airs June 22 on PBS and will be available for rental at Netflix.com the following day, with another title arriving monthly through September.

“As a growing distribution channel for television programs, we are committed to providing our members with the most unique selection of DVDs in the world,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “We hope the immediacy of access and Netflix's unique ability to match content with an interested audience will help P.O.V. expand the reach, relevance and appeal of these films.”

Netflix saw a 65 percent increase in rental of documentary titles from April 2003 through April 2004. TV programming currently makes up more than 12 percent of Netflix rentals, according to the company.

Netflix employs proprietary software that keeps track of its 2 million customers' rental preferences, which will help identify the audience for these titles, according to the company.

“Netflix's unique ability to match films to highly targeted audiences makes it an ideal partner in our effort to broaden the availability of P.O.V. titles,” said Cara Mertes, executive director for P.O.V.

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