Netflix loses major blockbusters

After September ends, users will no longer be able to stream major blockbusters such as “The Hunger Games,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” or “World War Z” on Netflix because it decided not to renew a content-licensing deal with Epix, a premium hybrid cable and satellite television network that releases movies from the studios Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount.

In 1997, no one would have guessed that the small start-up, Netflix, would someday change the way millions of people consume cinematic content and completely revolutionize the TV industry. Since its launch, Netflix has dominated the video streaming niche and phased out major movie rental stores. The arrival of smartphones and tablets only furthered Netflix’s success by allowing people to watch content where they want and when they want. Most recently, Netflix started creating high-quality exclusive content and releasing entire seasons at once, giving way to the term “binge-watching.”

Many of the biggest movies available on Netflix come from Epix. The original deal between Netflix and Epix was signed in 2010 for a five year period. Since then, Epix has become less exclusive to Netflix by signing licensing deals with other streaming companies, therefore losing its value. Chief content officer at Netflix, Ted Sarandos, talked about the company’s reasoning behind not renewing the deal in an official statement on its blog.

“While many of these movies [from Epix] are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods,” Sarandos said. “Our goal is to provide great movies and TV series for all tastes, that are only available on Netflix.”

As for the people worried about losing the ability to stream their favorite movies anymore, Epix has moved to Hulu under non-exclusive terms, so all of the same content will still be available to Hulu subscribers.

The main reason Netflix chose not to renew the deal is that it is putting a greater focus on the production of its own exclusive content. Netflix has already seen tremendous success with its shows Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Bloodlines. The company has partnered with major movie stars and directors such as Brad Pitt, Ricky Gervais, Judd Apatow, Angelina Jolie, Sofia Coppola and Adam Sandler.

“Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for [the viewers],” Sarandos said.

One way Netflix seeks to improve customer experience is by prioritizing shorter wait times between theatrical releases and a movie’s availability online. With Epix, content was available on Netflix eight to ten months after a film bowed in theaters. By creating its own content, these wait times will become nonexistent.

Despite losing Epix, starting next year Netflix will be the only subscription service providing latest releases from The Walt Disney Company, which includes movies from Pixar, Lucas Films, and Marvel Movies. Content will be arriving even faster than traditional arrangements previously allowed.
There is a lot in store for subscribers in the coming months, but only time will tell if Netflix continues to dominate or the changes prove too drastic for its consumers.