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Relativity Media Shuns HBO & Showtime for Netflix

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Netflix (s NFLX) has secured its first-ever pay TV deal, according to a report from The Wrap. The company partnered with Hollywood production and co-financing outlet Relativity Media to exclusively show Relativity’s movies as part of its Watch Instantly offering.

The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman reports that Netflix will get the exclusive pay TV rights for 14 Relativity titles this year, including the upcoming Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale flick “The Fighter.” Essentially, this means that “The Fighter” won’t appear on Showtime (s CBS); instead, you’ll be able to watch it via Netflix.

Opinions varied widely about the impact of this deal after news of it broke late Monday, with Waxman being the most optimistic:

“The arrival of Netflix as a player in this space could change the balance of power between HBO and Showtime and the major studios when they look to renegotiate their deals, which come due starting in approximately 2015.”

Others were more skeptical, pointing out that Relativity doesn’t own the distribution rights to some of the most popular titles it’s been involved in. Relativity has produced and co-financed movies made by studios like Universal (s GE), Sony (s SNE) and Paramount (s VIA), and it has contributed to blockbusters like “3:10 to Yuma,” “300” and “Bruno.”

Either way, we shouldn’t be too surprised to see Netflix strike similar deals with other studios. The company, which currently has some 14 million subscribers, recently posted a presentation on its jobs web site that outlines its ambitions to become “one of the world’s largest licensors of movies and TV shows.”

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5 Responses to “Relativity Media Shuns HBO & Showtime for Netflix”

  1. Even if Relativity deal doesn’t give Netflix instant access to a complete library of hits, it still has important implications for Netflix’s place in the pay TV landscape.