Netflix wants more current shows

The company is willing to pay big bucks to get more in-season shows in its library.

By Kim Peterson Dec 3, 2010 2:07PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Netflix DVDLast night's episode of "The Office" is already on Hulu's website. But Netflix (NFLX) doesn't have it. In fact, all Netflix can give you is the previous season.

That's a glaring deficiency for Netflix, and the company is trying to change that. Problem is that getting current-season episodes costs a lot of dough.

The New York Post reports that Netflix is approaching television studios with wads of cash, willing to pay between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode. Netflix would not officially comment on the report.
Netflix already succeeded with "Saturday Night Live," winning a deal to stream shows the day after they air on the network. The company isn't stopping there.

But here's where things get dicey, according to the Post. A lot of sides want to claim the streaming rights to a television show while it's still in season (once the season ends and goes to DVD, no one cares all that much.) Post continues after video:
The studios that develop the TV shows say they own the rights. But the networks that broadcast the shows say the same thing. "It's a big source of friction," one TV executive told the Post. "There are no agreements."

Kind of a problem for Netflix, or any company that wants to license those rights. Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) are very much in the hunt as well as they develop their own streaming libraries.

Part of Netflix's considerable success so far is that it moves quickly and aggressively. It partnered with device makers early on, grabbing a seat at the table while competitors were still developing strategy.

You can see the same instinct here, as Netflix tries to stake a claim in the murky content waters early on. But any success it has just makes Hollywood more nervous, the Post reports.

"People are wondering if they did the right thing by selling to them," one Hollywood source told the Post. "Are we mortgaging our future?"




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