Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Netflix Grabs DreamWorks Deal From HBO

More movies you’ve heard of should end up in your Netflix queue — in a couple years.

The video rental company is reportedly finishing up a streaming rights deal with DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind “Shrek” and other animated hits. The contract would replace an existing pact with HBO.

The Hollywood Reporter thinks the deal will kick in sometime in 2012, while Bloomberg thinks it will be the beginning of 2012. In any case, this won’t be a flood of films — DreamWorks only produces a handful of movies a year.

It’s also worth noting that it doesn’t appear that HBO tried too hard to hang on to the movies, as it’s letting DreamWorks out early of a deal that wasn’t set to expire till 2014.

Still, the deal has nice a bit of symbolism, since Netflix is increasingly lining up as a direct competitor with Time Warner’s pay TV service, despite CEO Reed Hastings’ insistence that this isn’t so. And every big-name rights deal is helpful for Netflix, which is trying to convince both investors and consumers that it will have enough stuff in its digital catalog to pull off its move from DVD-by-mail company to Web streaming company.

Netflix shares are down more than seven percent from their all-time peak earlier this month, when it announced a 60 percent pay hike for customers who wanted both DVDs and Web streaming. But they’re still up by more than 50 percent since the beginning of the year. The company reports Q2 earnings this afternoon.


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