Starting next week, Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) users will have the choice to stream any episode from the past 35 years of Saturday Night Live as part of a new, broader streaming agreement. The deal also adds NBCU’s cable networks to Netflix’s streaming queue. The terms of the new “multi-year” agreement weren’t disclosed. Over the past few months, Netflix has aggressively pursued a number of small and large streaming deals, including ones with movie studios Nu Image/Millennium Films and Relativity Media. The expansion of its NBCU (NYSE: GE) relationship follows quickly on the heels of its estimated $1 billion deal with pay TV movie channel Epix two months ago.
This latest agreement not only brings more broadcast programming to Netlfix’s streaming library, it also adds USA and Syfy series as well. In addition the extensive archives of SNL broadcasts, Netflix users will be able to stream new episodes of the show one day after it originally airs.
The NBCU announcement should also paper over Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ PR stumble this week, when said Americans were too “self-absorbed” to care that Canadians were getting slightly cheaper deal on mail and streaming access. He got into further hot water when it was revealed that the company hired a bunch of actors to appear in a crowd heralding the rental service’s Canadian launch. Some of the actors spoke to the press pretending to be actual enthusiasts interested in the rental service and didn’t identify themselves as being paid to be there.
Neverthless, that has all been obscured by rival renter Blockbuster’s bankruptcy filing, so the timing for Netflix’s contretemps couldn’t have been better.
The NBCU deal, which is available to those who subscribe to Netflix at the $8.99 level (or $7.99 if you’re in Canada), should open the doors to more streaming deals. During the company’s last earnings call, Hastings attributed the company’s growth to the