Netflix and Relativity Media have struck a long-term deal to offer some Relativity films through Netflix’s streaming service for subscribers.
This marks the first time film content has been made available for subscription streaming timed to bypass the pay-TV window. Before, such films would have been sent out through Relativity’s studio partners to output deals with premium TV channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz.
The deal foreshadows a move by Relativity into self-distribution that the company’s CEO Ryan Kavanaugh recently alluded to in an interview with Screen International. Relativity’s president Michael Joe and COO Andrew Marcus brokered the streaming pact with Netflix’s vice-president of content acquisition Robert Kyncl.
Among the first Relativity films covered by the Netflix deal will be The Fighter starring Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg and Skyline (pictured) directed by the Brothers Strause. Both films are scheduled for theatrical release later in 2010 to be available at Netflix in early 2011. The deal will also cover Nicolas Cage thriller Season Of The Witch and Peter Farley’s Movie 43.
“We have always been about finding new ways to grow and monetize our business,” said Ryan Kavanaugh, Relativity’s CEO. “This clearly is a natural step in the evolution of the movie business and opens up a whole new world of revenue and marketing opportunities. Netflix has certainly made its mark, with a service that reaches over 13 million people and allows consumers to have what they want, when they want it. We have a shared vision, and this deal marks a significant change in our industry.”
Michael J Joe, Relativity’s president, said: “The growing number of Netflix subscribers streaming first run movies is very exciting and presents another viable option for us to maximize the long-term business behind our properties. We’re delighted to partner with them on this incredible new opportunity, which has great promise for our industry — reshaping pay-TV deals going forward.”
“Our continued goal is to expand the breadth and timeliness of films and TV shows available to stream on Netflix,” added 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.”