Netflix continues to make headlines — but this time, it's ostensibly good news. On Thursday, the movie-streaming-and-DVD-by-mail giant unveiled a four-year deal with Warner Bros. TV and CBS Corp. that allows Netflix to stream 700 hours of past seasons of CW shows like Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries, as well as new shows like Ringer (though not until its current season has aired). Will access to old CW shows be enough to placate Netflix customers, battered by a steep price hike and flummoxed by Netflix's strange business strategy?
This is good — but not enough: While "it's great to see Netflix expanding its catalog of content," delaying access to these shows by an entire season is a problem, says Christina Warren at Mashable. Its two biggest competitors — Hulu Plus and TV Everywhere — offer shows the day after they air, as do many networks' websites. At the same time, Amazon Prime is expanding its offerings. If Netflix is going to compete, it needs to "to focus on closing its distribution window or upping the quality of its content."
"Netflix is getting the CW's programming "
Netflix overpaid: Netflix is reportedly paying a whopping $250 million a year "for reruns from a second-tier network," says David Poland at Movie City News. Netflix will need millions of new subscribers to make this "massive and massively overpriced" deal pay off. These are interesting, crucial times for the company. "Netflix will be defined in the next five years not by its pricing issues, but by how it programs itself and how much it pays for that programming."
"Oh that Netflix… Oy that Hulu"
Well, maybe TV shows are more important than movies for Netflix: Movie studios have never been very happy about Netflix's streaming plan, says Steve Andersen at TFTS. But "television vendors have been substantially more interested" in working with Netflix. TV networks have less to lose in giving Netflix streaming rights — they still get their ad dollars when the shows first air — and having their programming on Netflix helps keep people caught up and interested in their shows. Moving forward, Netflix might be better off just limiting its streaming services to television.
"Netflix lands content deal with CW for reruns"