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Netflix to stream first run movies from Relativity Media
Netflix subscribers to watch Relativity Media movies sooner and directly thanks to an agreement that bypasses Pay TV licensing deals.
Posted July 06, 2010
Netflix and Relativity Media just announced a deal that will stream Relativity's theatrical movie releases on Netflix shortly after their DVD releases, bypassing the traditional pay-per-view channels that normally hold flicks hostage for months or years.

The long term agreement allows for theatrically released films owned by Relativity to be licensed directly and exclusively to Netflix for streaming. As such, Netflix subscribers will be able to watch (stream) Relativity flicks during what would normally be the "pay TV" or "on demand" window of premium or specialty movie channels.

"Our continued goal is to expand the breadth and timeliness of films and TV shows available to stream on Netflix," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "Historically, the rights to distribute these films are pre-sold to pay TV for as long as nine years after their theatrical release. Through our partnership with Relativity, these films will start to become available to our members just months after their DVD release."

The deal highlights a continued shift in the distribution of major motion pictures in the U.S. Under the agreement, an increasing number of popular contemporary movies previously encumbered by pay TV agreements with premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz will become available to be streamed from Netflix months - as opposed to years - after their release on DVD. It will be the first time that studio quality theatrical feature films will be streamed via subscription by Netflix instead of being broadcast by the traditional pay providers.

Among the first wave of films covered under the Netflix-Relativity deal are "The Fighter," starring Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams and distributed by Paramount Pictures, and "Skyline," co-directed by the Brothers Strause and released by Rogue Pictures and Universal Studios. Both films are scheduled for theatrical release later this year and to be available at Netflix in early 2011.
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