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Netflix has struck a multi-year agreement with FilmDistrict, a production, distribution, and financing company, to stream first-run movies as soon as pay TV gets them. Under the deal, movies that would have been licensed to pay cable channels will now go to Netflix for streaming as well, beginning in 2011.
Movies typically arrive in theaters, then are released on DVD, then show up on pay TV, and finally hit streaming services last. This particular deal makes the last two on par; major motion pictures that traditionally would have been licensed to premium cable channels will flow instead from FilmDistrict to Netflix for streaming to its members.
Netflix seems to be working around the clock to cut deals in order to bring more new releases to its streaming option. The move is notable because it means Netflix is even more so competing with premium cable channels.
FilmDistrict was created earlier this year by Oscar-winning producer Graham King and his business partners Tim Headington and Peter Schlessel. Film industry veterans Bob Berney and Adrian Alperovich recently also joined FilmDistrict.
"Netflix has a long and successful history working with Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney, and I have long admired Graham King's amazing production success with movies like 'The Departed' and 'Blood Diamond,' which are among the most watched and highly rated movies of all time by Netflix members," Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be in business with these proven tastemakers and entertainment business leaders."