Netflix exploring cable options, signs Sony deal


NetflixNetflix, in discussions to expand its footprint with MSOs, has entered into its first series production deal with a major Hollywood studio–Sony. The company, which streamed political thriller “House of Cards,” said it has ordered a new psychological thriller series from Sony Pictures Television and the creators of the FX legal drama “Damages.”

The 13-episode first season will premiere exclusively for Netflix members to watch instantly.

“House of Cards,” a sleek political drama from a small production company led by actor Kevin Spacey, was released in a similar manner by Netflix early this year.

Meanwhile, Netflix is discussing with several MSOs the inclusion of its streaming video service on their set-top boxes, says a Reuters story. Two we know of for sure, per WSJ, include Comcast and Suddenlink Communications. The talks revolve around a direct connection of the Netflix network to the cable companies’ internet service provider systems.

Last month, two European cable companies — Sweden’s Com Hem and Virgin Media in Britain — struck deals to allow their customers to access Netflix through TiVo set-top boxes. Netflix CFO David Wells, speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor conference last month, said that the company was willing to strike similar deals with U.S. MSOs.

Netflix currently charges $7.99 monthly price for a variety of on-demand entertainment options. Comcast already offers offers Streampix, a Netflix-like collection of older TV shows and movies available on multiple screens.

Netflix’s licensing deals with studios previously forbade MVPDs from offering its service, because of studios’ concerns it would reduce VOD sales. But recently, Netflix eliminated those restrictions in new deals with media companies, WSJ said.

See the Reuters story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: Eliminating any middleman device like Xbox would boost Netflix’s numbers just due to the convenience factor. “Cable + Netflix,” in one integrated package, could upsell MSO subscriber numbers just because it would be a powerful new, exclusive offering in many markets. The MSOs are surely listening to the pitch, because bottom line, they would not only charge more for such a package, but also likely get compensated by Netflix.