Netflix Isn't Giving Up on First-Run Films Yet

The ExpendablesA few months back, word came out that Netflix was wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to build up its young streaming video catalog. But given the relatively low revenue from the streaming catalog, content providers (movie studios) were reluctant to offer much in the way of content—so Netflix made them an offer.

Other venues, including the likely bankrupt BlockBbuster, would have exclusive access to movies in their first 28 days (at least from Warner Bros.). In exchange, Netflix would be able to secure a larger, deeper catalog to entice more customers and offer an improved service.

Despite a few scattered protests, the public has generally agreed that Netflix made the right decision. But the decision isn't exactly final—the relationship between Netflix and the studios is fluid, ebbing and flowing with changes in technology and consumer taste, and nothing's written in stone. That's why it's not totally surprising that Netflix negotiated a deal with a studio to secure first-run films.

That studio, Nu Image/Millennium, is certainly on the smaller side, but it's not exactly a garage-run operation, either. The studio is responsible for lots of top action movies, like The Expendables, Rambo, Righteous Kill, Son of No One, and Stone, as well as doubtless clunkers like Today You Die (a latter-day Steven Seagal vehicle).

The deal proves that Netflix is willing to keep trying new things, to renegotiate deals, and to continue to make Netflix the best movie distribution service the world has ever seen. Perhaps the larger studios will see how profitable this particular deal can be, and come around on their own. Either way, it's good news for Netflix subscribers (particularly if they're fans of the Jean-Claude Van Damme ouvre).

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in Brooklyn (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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  • Ed

    So Blockbuster gets about 70% of movies on a 28-Day Window. Fox, WB, Universal. While Disney is the main holdout but didn't like what has seen in its retail and paramount has said no to the 28 Day window so far. To state that having a C Movie Studio has an exclusive content provider is not saying very much.

    I just wonder how much that netflix streaming would be without Blockbuster? I will bet you it will be a lot more than $9.

    Make netflix the best movie service the world has seen. So if you would have said the US I would have said yea, their marketing group has done a great job of telling us they are, but the World. Netflix name brand does not carry across the oceans and Blockbuster is still one of the most recognized brands in the World. So what makes the best the Movie service ever lets look at the two.

    95,000 Movies Mailed right to your door
    Carry NC-17 Movies that Blockbuster will not
    Fast delivery generally within one day
    Ability to play movies on my game systems(Of course it takes a little work, but it is still good)
    Offers streaming of 100's of TV shows and older movies, but not old classics like The God Father
    Application for both iphone and ipad

    3000 Stores-You may not go to a store but 43 million people still go into Blockbuster every year.
    -You can buy, sale and Trade movies and games
    -Pick up anything you need to go along with a movie, even a blanket
    -No waiting in the mail for movies
    95,000 Movies through the Mail-Mailers can be exchanged for Free Movies in the store
    -Carry Unrated Movies but not NC-17 movies
    -Blu-ray is no extra charge online-Netflix you pay more
    -Games by mail for no extra charge
    Has On Demand built into TVs, Blu-ray players, computers, cell phones and more
    Application for Android Operating System phones(Fastest growing cell phone on the market)
    Their new application will let you watch a movie on your tv, hit pause and pick up where you left off on your cell phone.
    Content is downloaded in higher bits compared to netflix so the video quality is better. This is something Netflix has to fix.
    Has a I-phone App that lets you search your local store for movies
    Has 7000 Video vending kiosk that get movies in advance of Netflix and Redbox
    Video Kiosk are ready so consumers can download movies to SD Cards or Flash drives(being built into all tvs now)
    Blockbuster brand know World Wide, in other countries they have Movie Theaters and such.
    28-Day Rental Window 70% of all new movies

    So you judge who is the best movie provider in the world. Just for the fun of it, see how many Netflix streaming videos are already out there for free. They just bundle in a package and make it easy for you.

    For the record I have Netflix Streaming and Blockbuster Total Access and shop in a Blockbuster Store. I have used both the blue and the redbox vending machines. I have also downloaded movies from Blockbuster on Demand. Once Google TV comes out I will drop the Netflix streaming as I will have all the shows at my finger tips.

    One more thing Blockbuster had and will have again a 28-day window of the highest grossing movie every, so I am so excited that netflix is bragging about actors movies that we all now should retire but enjoy watching.

  • P Clarke Thomas

    what's confusing is that Vudu (recently acquired by Walmart) is able to get first run movies up & streaming prior to Netflix. Vudu also offers HDX(blueray) quality, plus the ability to pay less for lower quality of streams. (which I much prefer over Netflix)

    2 nights ago I watched "Killers" on Vudu, checked Netflix for availability(DVD only) and promptly closed my account.