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Netflix Not Getting 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' May Add News Programming

14 Oct, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

CCO Ted Sarandos says Netflix access to other 'Star Wars' movies is up in the air

With Netflix set to become the pay-TV home to Disney movies by the fourth quarter 2016, speculation whether that would include upcoming theatrical blockbuster Stars Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, was quickly put to rest by CCO Ted Sarandos.

The much anticipated movie will be the last film included in Disney’s current pay-TV agreement with Starz, according to Sarandos, who added that Netflix’s access to other "Star Wars" films in the franchise remains up in the air and subject to negotiation with Disney.

“It’s an ongoing discussion,” Sarandos said on the company’s third-quarter fiscal webcast

Despite linear TV migrating toward over-the-top video and on-demand, subscription streaming pioneer Netflix has steadfastly refused to bite on pursing live programming mainstays such as sports and news.

That could be changing in regards to news programming.

When asked about reconsidering its stance on live programming, specifically in regards to HBO’s nascent pact with Vice.com and move toward news programming, Sarandos hinted that a move into news-related video could be forthcoming.

“We’re definitely being more adventurous in terms of the genres we’re going into,” the executive said, referring to next year’s bow of Chelsea Handler’s new talk show and documentaries.

“That’s our first move into talk. That’s more of weekly talk show, where most of our things have been very long-shelf-life movies and TV series.”

While Sarandos said live sports would represent a similar migration for Netflix, it would not be a likely one.

“There’s are lot of irrational bidders for sports, we’re not anxious to become another one. Sports on demand is not as exciting as sports live.”

CEO Reed Hastings then interjected with a question to Sarandos about the likelihood of Netflix competing with Vice within two years.

“Probably high,” he said.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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