Netflix this week signed with film producer and distributor FilmDistrict to offer first-run, theatrically released films licensed to Netflix for streaming over the internet in the “pay TV window” just a few months after release on DVD.
The newly formed studio, FilmDistrict, is a multi-faceted acquisitions, distribution, production and financing company launched in October. Graham King and Tim Headington’s GK Films, in partnership with Peter Schlessel, President of GK Films, announced the formation.
FilmDistrict will theatrically distribute between four and eight wide release commercial pictures per year, some of which will go through Sony Pictures Entertainment’s TriStar and Triumph labels. Sony Pictures also will have other distribution rights (including home entertainment and television) to the films. This deal does not affect GK Films’ existing output arrangement with the studio.
FilmDistrict will also provide consulting services to Sony Pictures’ well-established worldwide theatrical and ancillary acquisition business run by Steve Bersch, President of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, and his senior team.
Under the deal with Netflix, major movies that would have been licensed to premium cable channels will instead be offered to Netflix members on streaming video, beginning in 2011.
Netflix, which has offered DVDs via the mail as well as steaming over the internet, announced recently it would begin offering streaming-only memberships.
Netflix offerings can be viewed on computers as well as on TVs using Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Ninentdo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3 and Blu-ray disc players, as well as on Apple devices and via Apple TV and Google’s Google TV.