Netflix in talks for original content to rival cable networks

By on March 16, 2011, 8:00 AM
Video streaming giant Netflix is reportedly looking to rival traditional cable networks as it negotiates to acquire an original television series directed by "The Social Network" 's David Fincher and starring actor Kevin Spacey. According to Deadline Hollywood, the company just outbid both HBO and AMC for Media Rights Capital's (MRC) drama television series House of Cards, in the first step of a wider effort to entice new subscribers to its streaming service.

The deal is said to be worth around $100 million for a two-season commitment of 26 episodes total. The show, a political thriller based on a novel and BBC miniseries of the same name, would go straight to series without piloting. Netflix would have the exclusive right to distribute the series online before anyone else could make it available, but Media Rights Capital could make subsequent deals for later broadcast or DVD sales.

Netflix is the clear leader in terms of market share when it comes to movie and TV shows streaming. But the company has been feeling the heat from its competitors, including Amazon.com, which last month announced its own subscription based video streaming service. Investing in original content is a big bet on their part.

If successful and if Netflix can build and maintain an attractive lineup of exclusive content, it could mark a departure from the traditional TV model, where the Internet would become the first channel of distribution as opposed to an outlet for previously-aired shows. We certainly don't expect such a shift to happen overnight but it's an interesting thought.

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