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Netflix Subscribers Will Have to Wait for Avatar

Netflix (s NFLX) subscribers, we have good news and bad news. First, the good news: The company has added a ton of new streaming content, including all prior seasons of TV shows such as 24 and Bones, as well as movies including Aliens, Being John Malkovich and The Pianist. And now the bad news: You’ll have to wait an extra month before you’ll be able to get Avatar through Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service.

The bad news is the result of the company’s latest round of studio agreements, which will extend 28-day rental windows on new releases from 20th Century Fox (s NWS) and Universal Studios (s GE). But in exchange, Netflix will get more content to add to the 17,000-plus video titles already available through its Watch Instantly service.

The first title to be affected is 20th Century Fox’s Avatar, which is sure to be disappointing to subscribers who were desperately waiting to add the Hollywood blockbuster to their DVD queues. The film won’t be available from Netflix for four weeks after it goes on sale April 22. The first title from Universal to be affected by the 28-day window is It’s Complicated, which goes on sale April 27.

But for Netflix users that have embraced the company’s Watch Instantly streaming service, the new agreements add to the ever-growing list of content that they can now watch on their PCs or any number of consumer electronic devices, including the new Apple (s aapl) iPad. From Fox, Netflix has added a large number of TV episodes, including all prior seasons of shows like Lie to Me, Bones, 24 and King of the Hill, as well as full seasons of Prison Break, Arrested Development and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Fox will also provide hit movies like Aliens, The Thin Red Line, Romancing the Stone and Patton. From Universal, Netflix has added streaming titles such as Gosford Park, Billy Elliott, The Pianist, Being John Malkovich and Do the Right Thing.

The announcement with Fox and Universal follow a similar deal that Netflix struck with Warner Bros. (s TWX) in January, in which it agreed to a four-week window in exchange for more streaming content.

While Netflix is expanding the number of studios it grants 28-day new release windows to, Blockbuster (s BBI) is working to solidify its hold on new release titles. Today’s announcement comes just a few days after Blockbuster secured deals with 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures Entertainment (s SNE) to ensure it can rent new releases on the same day and date that they go on sale. That means that Blockbuster will have Avatar for a full four weeks before Netflix or kiosk rental firm Redbox (s CSTR) make it available. Blockbuster also has a deal with Warner Bros. guaranteeing that it can rent that studio’s new releases through its stores or its DVD-by-mail service.

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16 Responses to “Netflix Subscribers Will Have to Wait for Avatar

  1. Although the delay is gut wrenching one must understand the movie politics and how things work just a little patience and soon netflix will have it. Next someone will be complaining they are not going to have enough to go around just can’t please nobody these days

  2. the outrage? what right do we have to decide who fox lets rent their movies? i didn’t contribute any of the 237 million dollars spent to make the movie, and neither did you.

    “Typical studio mentality; trying to go against the grain of technological advancement in terms of distribution models instead of with it.”
    ~are you implying they should make decisions that will clearly make them less money? you wouldn’t do the same. no one would.
    Besides, what other *istribution *models* have they gone against?

    i’m tired of people complaining when others use their properties as they please.

  3. Jonathan

    This isn’t something Netflix really wanted. The 28-day delay is coming from the studios; they get more money from Blockbuster’s rental and retail services than from Netflix’s licensing fees. It was reported months ago that they were planning on slapping this delay on Netflix, but not likely going to affect Blockbuster. The added streaming content is just a concession. Nice, but still, a small gesture.

    The idea here is that people will go and buy the retail copy of the DVD since they don’t want to wait for a month. Typical studio mentality; trying to go against the grain of technological advancement in terms of distribution models instead of with it.

    Of course they’ll be driving some of the prospective renters straight to BitTorrent. Good job!

  4. Netflix is sure to regret this dumb business move. Customers want it now, not when Netflix makes some deal for it a month after it goes on sale.. stupid, stupid.


    Yeah, you’ll forgive me if I’m apathetic toward these silly 28-day windows while the MPAA convinces our elected officials to inflict ACTA upon the world.