Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) continues to roll out programming deals to buff up its streaming service. The latest is a multi-year licensing deal with AMC Networks for exclusive streaming syndication of Walking Dead in the U.S. and Canada with season one premiering today.
Netflix already has exclusive rights to past seasons of AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad in the U.S. and Latin America through Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and Sony.
The package also covers non-exclusive rights for other shows from AMC Networks, including Portlandia and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC); Braxton Family Values, My Fair Wedding, and Bridezillas (WE tv); and All On The Line with Joe Zee and Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys (Sundance).
Netflix has been expanding existing deals and adding streaming video steadily and CEO Reed Hastings said earlier this year efforts would step up going into the fourth quarter. Showing signs of significant improvement took on new urgency with the fallout over changing pricing plans and spinning DVDs into Qwikster paired with the announcement by Starz Entertainment that it would not renew. Starz programming includes many of the first-run movies on Netflix.
This isn’t a huge deal but it’s a sign to subscribers that Netflix continues to look not only for new programming but for exclusive programming and a lure for potential subscribers interested in certain kinds of cable programming without paying monthly cable rates. In addition to building library content, Netflix has put a particular focus on getting past seasons of current shows from across networks.
In terms of TV, that puts it strategically between Hulu Plus, which so far remains the go-to place for next-day access to the largest amount of prime-time shows plus catch-up for current seasons and depth in terms of past seasons, and Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), which is increasing its stock of shows that are off the air.